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ABC News Breakfast -

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(generated from captions) material to France and

Russia. The Federal Government

is at loggerheads with the

Opposition about threats to

delay a bill forcing Telstra to

split its retail and whole businesses. The Opposition

claims the bill is designed to

force Telstra into investing in the Government's National Broadband Network. For more

Federal Communications Minister

Stephen Conroy joins us now

from Canberra. Senator, good morning? Good morning? Good morning. In this

debate you continue pointing

out Australians are paying some

of the highest fees in the

world for Internet services but

can you now tell us how much a

subscriber would have to pay

with the new NBN network for a

basic service with, say, a 12

gig limit per move?. Well

you've immediately asked a

question that presupposes the

structure of the company. It structure of the company. It

pry supposes whether or not

other companies have assets in.

You've presupposed that they're

going to be what you refer to

as a 12 gig cap. These are the

questions that the

implementation study is

currently examining. So in

terms of the costs that will be

charged for using the NBN

they're all part of an gone jog

study that will be completed in

around February. The Opposition around February. The Opposition

is urging you to wait until

that implementation study is

done. If you can't even tell us

now what the basic cost will be

for subscribers and that's a

central part of how you're

pushing this plan, it would

seem to make sense though have

all the relevant studies done

before you proceed? The

majority of this bill, though,

I accept that most of the focus has been on

has been on the areas around

the restructuring of this

sector, most of this bill is

about the improved consumer

protections that are contained

in it, more powers to the ACCC,

fines for companies who don't

live up to their service

obligation, fines for companies

who don't provide the requisite

services within the requisite

period. These are significant

fines being introduced for the

first time. This is largely a

bill that improves consumer

protections and puts fines in

place for companies that

actually breach their standards

and their obligations, so

forary day there is a delay,

this is a bill that delays this

bill, you would have higher bill, you would have higher

prices, less choice, less

innovation for small

businesses, less innovation for

regional and rural Australians.

This is a bill that's designed

to begin the enormous reform

and shake up in a sector which

is desperately crying out for

it. At this stage you don't

need details on how the NBN

will actually work before you put this legislation through? No, this legislation

does two things. It's largely about about consumer protections but

is also puts in place the

structure of the sector as it

is today. The NBN is a company

that we're building the largest

infrastructure project in Australia's history over eight

years. We don't need to know

the price before the company

sells or offers a prauk.

Obviously, those issues are

being worked, but the

fundamental objective of this

bill is begin to reform of the

sector. This is a sector which

is riven with gaming when it

comes to the regulatory

situation, long court delays,

that have stymied competition,

this is a bill that absolutely

begins the reforms that are

needed in this country to drive

lower prices, to get better

service, to give consumers more

choice and to provide regional

and rural Australians with their first

their first opportunity to get real competition out into those

areas. The Government has

conceded there are risks and

challenges for Telstra under

this new plan, by how much do

you expect the Telstra share

price to fall if the split

proceeds? Well, let's be clear.

When we announced the plan just

a few weeks ago, the share

price has bounced around. There

is an

is an enormous opportunity for

Telstra. We've always believed

when we put this plan together

that there was an opportunity

for Telstra for Telstra share

holders to have a win-win. And

the constructive mature

leadership of David Thodey and

Kathin livingstone in engaging

in the discussion in a

discussion about this has got

me reasonably optimistic that

we can reach a deal. Once the split split happens you don't expect

the share price to fall at

all? Well we've believed all

along that there is a win-win.

A win for Telstra shareholders

and a win for the Australian

consumers right across the

country when we put forward

this package. There are many

analysts in the industry who

have argued that splitting

Telstra could lead to a value

enhancing proposition. And we

would say as my colleague

Lindsay Tanner said yesterday, that there

that there is an eformous

opportunity for Telstra to leap

into this new world on a

fibre-based network and strart

dramatically offering consumers

incredible new opportunities,

incredible new applications,

faster speeds, the access to

applications in health care, in

education, in provision of

services to small business,

provision of services to

regional and rule Australia

that not there at the moment. that not there at the moment.

Those are the thaupts Telstra

and other companies can

grasp. If the Senate does

obstruct this bill, can you

prevent Telstra from buying that crucial wireless spectrum

by other means, say, the radio

communications act? Look, absolutely. The previous

Government, the Howard

Government, used that act five

times to put restrictions on conditions conditions for bidding in

spectrum auctions, so it's

quite clear that the powers are

there, they've been used by the

previous Government. It's quite

clear. What we decided to do

was we weren't going to go

around behind closed doors and

offering a deal here on this

and we won't do this, we put it

all up front for the Australian

public to look at, for the

Senate, the parliament, to

examine, we said this is our

plan, this is the legislation, this is what

this is what we intend to do so we've been very

straightforward, with Telstra,

with shareholders, with the

Australian community about what

we're doing a. We've put

legislation in the parliament.

We haven't gone behind closed

doors and said that here is a

deal. Here is an opportunity

for to us do a deal and we

might not do this. We've come

upfront and said this is what

we want to achieve and this is how. Before we go, how. Before we go, I'll ask you

about the issue of the day -

are you comfortable with your

Government paying Indonesia a

fee per boat of aseek e nah are

stopping in Indonesian

waters? What the Government is

engaged in is treating refugees

humanly, but at the same time

accepting out the message to

those people smugglers, who put those people smugglers, who put

refugees' lives at risk with

this vile trade that they're

engaged in, that there is no

point, don't listen to the

people smugglers, we want to

lock the people smugglers up

and we want a humane way to

treat the refugees to make sure

they get access do all of the

human rights obligations, the

refugee ob ogations and the

Indonesian Government is able

to cothat and so I'm very to cothat and so I'm very

comfortable with where the

Government is going on this

issue. ? Senate estimates

yesterday I hear you've had a

problem trying to get on the '7:30 Report'ment we'll see if

you get a gig on there at some

stage Thank you very much. That

Kerry obriep, he's a tough

gig. That's for talking to us

this morning, Stephen

Conroy. Thank you, very

much. We'll take a look now at