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Thursday, 23 August 2018
Page: 5705


Senator LEYONHJELM (New South Wales) (13:46): I rise to speak on the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer) Bill 2018 and the Telecommunications (Regional Broadband Scheme) Charge Bill 2018. These telecommunications bills before us today impose a $7.10 charge per month per premises on certain broadband wholesalers, excluding the NBN. This is a massive tax representing more than a quarter of the wholesale price for broadband. This tax is designed to ensure a government owned monolith, the NBN, can completely dominate a market, crushing small, privately owned businesses. Can anyone suggest what the position of the Liberal Democrats on this might be? I suspect you can, and in case you don't know, the Liberal Democrats are a low-tax party. The Liberal Democrats believe that government businesses should be privatised so the rigours of competition can provide better services at lower cost without risk to taxpayers. Obviously the Liberal Democrats oppose this tax of $7.10 per month, designed to prop up a bumbling, government owned monolith. Unfortunately the coalition government has been captured by the NBN, despite criticising the NBN when in opposition. Labor has criticised the coalition government about this $7.10 tax, but at the end of the day I fear that Labor, like a frazzled parent of a petulant child, will still feel that it must give the NBN whatever it wants. Unfortunately it seems that we will be stuck with this new tax of $7.10 per month. We need more Liberal Democrats in this place to hold back the folly and crony capitalism of the major parties and to ensure that more money stays in the pockets of everyday Australians.