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18       Communications NBN Co—Spending

Motion determined as not formal : Senator Urquhart, at the request of Senators Pratt, Kitching and Hanson, requested that general business notice of motion no. 1040 standing in their names for today, relating to spending at NBN Co, be taken as formal. An objection was raised and the motion was not proceeded with as a formal motion.

Leave refused : Senator Gallagher sought leave to move general business notice of motion no. 1040 for determination without amendment or debate. An objection was raised and leave was not granted.

Suspension of standing orders : Senator Gallagher moved—That so much of the standing orders be suspended as would prevent general business notice of motion no 1040 being moved immediately and determined without amendment or debate.

Question put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 62

Senators—

Abetz

Faruqi

McKenzie

Seselja

Antic

Fawcett

McKim

Sheldon

Ayres

Fierravanti-Wells

McLachlan

Siewert

Bragg

Gallacher

McMahon

Small

Brockman

Gallagher

O’Neill

Smith, Dean*

Brown

Green

O’Sullivan

Steele-John

Canavan

Griff

Paterson

Sterle

Carr

Hanson

Polley

Stoker

Chandler

Hanson-Young

Pratt

Thorpe

Chisholm

Henderson

Rennick

Urquhart

Ciccone

Hughes

Rice

Van

Colbeck

Hume

Roberts

Walsh

Davey

Lines

Ruston

Waters

Dodson

McAllister

Ryan

Watt

Duniam

McCarthy

Scarr

Whish-Wilson

Farrell

McDonald

 

 

 

NOES, 2

Senators—

Lambie*

Patrick

 

 

* Tellers

Question agreed to by an absolute majority, in accordance with standing order 209(1).

Senator Gallagher moved—That the Senate—

(a)              notes:

(i)                    between July 2020 and December 2020, NBN Co paid out $78 million in corporate bonuses with taxpayer money,

(ii)                  the 2018 NBN corporate plan set a revenue target of $4.9 billion for financial year 2020; NBN Co achieved $3.8 billion,

(iii)                the 2018 NBN corporate plan set an activations target of 8.1 million by financial year 2020; NBN Co achieved 7.3 million,

(iv)                the 2018 NBN corporate plan forecast the multi-technology NBN would cost $49 billion; the forecast cost is now $57 billion,

(v)                  the Prime Minister effectively sacked Ms Holgate on the floor of Parliament for spending $20,000 on Cartier watches in 2018, but had no issues with NBN Co paying out $78 million in corporate bonuses during a recession, and

(vi)                NBN Co recently refused to answer 15 questions on notice from the Senate about their finances, despite having published this information previously;

(b)              considers the $78 million in NBN corporate bonuses during the COVID-19 recession to be excessive, unreasonable and lacking in justification;

(c)              affirms its commitment to ensuring there is appropriate transparency over how taxpayer money is spent on the NBN; and

(d)             calls on the Minister for Communications and NBN Chairman to reign in excessive spending and waste at NBN Co.

Question put.

The Senate divided—

AYES, 32

Senators—

Ayres

Gallacher

McCarthy

Steele-John

Brown

Gallagher

McKim

Sterle

Carr

Green

O’Neill

Thorpe

Chisholm

Griff

Patrick

Urquhart*

Ciccone

Hanson

Rice

Walsh

Dodson

Hanson-Young

Roberts

Waters

Farrell

Lines

Sheldon

Watt

Faruqi

McAllister

Siewert

Whish-Wilson

 

NOES, 30

Senators—

Abetz

Duniam

McKenzie

Ryan

Antic

Fawcett

McLachlan

Scarr

Bragg

Fierravanti-Wells

McMahon

Seselja

Brockman

Henderson

O’Sullivan

Small

Canavan

Hughes

Paterson

Smith, Dean*

Chandler

Hume

Rennick

Stoker

Colbeck

Lambie

Ruston

Van

Davey

McDonald

 

 

* Tellers

Question agreed to.

Document : The Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries (Senator Duniam) tabled a statement relating to the motion.