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The order of the day having been read for the resumption of the debate on the question—That the Bill be now read a second time—And on the amendment moved thereto by Mr Smith, viz.—That all words after "That" be omitted with a view to substituting the following words:

"whilst not declining to give the bill a second reading, the House, recognising the fundamental importance of high quality and reliable telecommunications services to all Australians now and in the future:

(1) condemns the Government for its continuing push towards the full privatisation of Telstra which will inevitably lead to a decline in services to rural and regional Australia;

(2) recognises the importance of the Universal Service Obligation to the delivery of minimum communications services to rural and regional Australia;

(3) notes that while the Government is holding up competitive tendering as the solution to rural and regional service delivery difficulties and as a justification of the full privatisation of Telstra:

 (a) its plan is limited to two pilot projects in undefined areas the results of which will not be known for a number of years; and

(b) its decision to require Telstra to remain as a safety net provider of last resort in the areas to be covered by the pilot projects acknowledges the unique role of Telstra in the delivery of services to rural and regional Australia and the folly of pursuing full privatisation;

(4) recognises that the Universal Service Obligation will need to encompass minimum digital data services in future; and

(5) notes the wide Ministerial discretion given with respect to the calculation of the cost of the Universal Service Obligation, and the need for this to be on the basis of Australian Communication Authority advice"—

Debate resumed.

Question—That the words proposed to be omitted stand part of the question—put.

The House divided (the Deputy Speaker, Mr Nehl, in the Chair)—

AYES, 73

Mr AbbottMr FaheyMr LindsayMr Slipper
Mr AndersonMr FischerMr LloydMr Somlyay
Mr K. J. AndrewsMr Forrest*Mr McArthur*Dr Southcott
Mr AnthonyMrs GallusMr I. E. MacfarlaneDr Stone
Fran BaileyMs GambaroMr McGauranMrs Sullivan
Mr BairdMrs GashMrs MayMr C. P. Thompson
Mr BarresiMr GeorgiouMr MooreMr A. P. Thomson
Mr BartlettMr HaaseMrs MoylanMr Truss
Mr BillsonMr HardgraveMr NairnMr Tuckey
Mrs B. K. BishopMr HawkerDr NelsonMr M. A. J. Vaile
Ms J. I. BishopMr HockeyMr NevilleMrs D. S. Vale
Mr BroughMrs HullMr NugentMr Wakelin
Mr CadmanMr JullMr ProsserDr Washer
Mr CameronMr KatterMr PyneMr Williams
Mr CausleyMrs D. M. KellyMr RonaldsonDr Wooldridge
Mr CharlesJackie KellyMr RuddockMs Worth
Mr DownerDr KempMr St Clair
Mrs DraperMr LawlerMr Scott
Mr EntschMr LiebermanMr Secker

NOES, 61

Mr AdamsMr FitzgibbonMr LeeMs Roxon
Mr AlbaneseMs GerickMs LivermoreMr Rudd
Mr AndrenMr GibbonsMr McClellandMr Sawford*
Mr BevisMs GillardMs J. S. McFarlaneMr Sciacca
Mr BreretonMr GriffinMr McLeayMr Sercombe*
Ms BurkeMs HallMr McMullanMr Sidebottom
Mr ByrneMr HattonMr MartinMr Smith
Mr CoxMs HoareMr MelhamMr Snowdon
Mr CreanMr HollisMr MorrisMr Swan
Mrs CrosioMr HorneMr MossfieldMr Tanner
Mr DanbyMrs IrwinMr MurphyDr Theophanous
Mr EdwardsMr JenkinsMr O'ConnorMr K. J. Thomson
Mr EmersonMs KernotMs PlibersekMr Zahra
Mr M. J. EvansMr KerrMr Price
Mr L. D. T. FergusonMr LathamMr Quick
Mr M. J. FergusonDr LawrenceMr Ripoll

* Tellers


Mr Howard Mr Beazley

Mrs Elson Ms Macklin

And so it was resolved in the affirmative.

Question—That the Bill be now read a second time—put and passed—Bill read a second time.

Consideration in detail

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole, and agreed to, after debate.

Consideration in detail concluded.

On the motion of Mr M. A. J. Vaile (Minister for Trade), by leave, the Bill was read a third time.