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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—

Debate resumed.

Mr Smith moved, as an amendment—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 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) calls on the Government to ensure that no further competitive tendering decisions are made prior to a comprehensive evaluation of the results of the two pilot projects;

(5) notes with concern that Telstra will be excluded as the Primary Universal Service Provider and will only provide service on a `commercial' basis to 80 percent of Australia if it is unsuccessful in its bid for the Government's $150 million tender for untimed local call access in remote areas; and

(6) calls on the Government to ensure that the $150 million tender proceeds on the same basis as the two pilot projects, namely with Telstra as the provider of last resort; and

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

Debate continued.

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

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

AYES, 66

Mr AbbottMr FaheyMr LloydMr Scott
Mr AndersonMr FischerMr I. E. MacfarlaneMr Secker
Mr AnthonyMr Forrest*Mr McGauranMr Slipper
Fran BaileyMrs GallusMrs MayMr Somlyay
Mr BairdMs GambaroMr MooreDr Southcott
Mr BarresiMrs GashMrs MoylanMrs Sullivan
Mr BartlettMr GeorgiouMr NairnMr C. P. Thompson
Mr BillsonMr HaaseMr NehlMr A. P. Thomson
Mrs B. K. BishopMr HardgraveDr NelsonMr Truss
Ms J. I. BishopMr HawkerMr NevilleMr Tuckey
Mr BroughMr HockeyMr NugentMr M. A. J. Vaile
Mr CadmanMrs HullMr ProsserMrs D. S. Vale
Mr CameronMr JullMr PyneDr Washer
Mr CharlesMrs D. M. KellyMr ReithMr Williams
Mr DownerJackie KellyMr RonaldsonMs Worth
Mrs DraperMr LawlerMr St Clair
Mrs Elson*Mr LindsayMr Schultz

NOES, 65

Mr AdamsMr FitzgibbonMr McClellandMs Roxon
Mr AlbaneseMs GerickMs J. S. McFarlaneMr Rudd
Mr AndrenMr GibbonsMs MacklinMr Sawford*
Mr BevisMs GillardMr McLeayMr Sciacca
Mr BreretonMr GriffinMr McMullanMr Sercombe*
Ms BurkeMs HallDr MartinMr Sidebottom
Mr ByrneMr HattonMr MelhamMr Smith
Ms CorcoranMs HoareMr MorrisMr Snowdon
Mr CoxMr HorneMr MossfieldMr Swan
Mr CreanMrs IrwinMr MurphyMr Tanner
Mrs CrosioMr JenkinsMs O'ByrneDr Theophanous
Mr DanbyMs KernotMr O'ConnorMr K. J. Thomson
Mr EdwardsMr KerrMr O'KeefeMr Wilkie
Ms EllisMr LathamMs PlibersekMr Zahra
Mr EmersonDr LawrenceMr Price
Mr L. D. T. FergusonMr LeeMr Quick
Mr M. J. FergusonMs LivermoreMr Ripoll

* Tellers


Mr Howard Mr Beazley

Mr Ruddock Mr M. J. Evans

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.

Message from the Governor-General

Message No. 236, 5 September 2000, from His Excellency the Governor-General was announced recommending an appropriation for the purpose of amendments to the Bill.

Consideration in detail

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole.

On the motion of Mr McGauran (Minister for the Arts and the Centenary of Federation), by leave, Government amendments (1) to (38) were made together, after debate.


Mr McGauran presented a supplementary explanatory memorandum to the following Bills:

Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Amendment (No. 2) 2000; and

Telecommunications (Universal Service Levy) Amendment 2000.

Mr McGauran presented the following paper:

Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2000—Speaking notes for second reading speech, 3 October 2000.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Consideration in detail concluded.

On the motion of Mr McGauran, by leave, the Bill was read a third time.