NBN bills passed

La­bor claims mile­stone in marathon day

Townsville Bulletin - - National Snapshot -

THE Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment has squeezed two im­por­tant broad­band bills through the par­lia­ment af­ter sweet­en­ing the deal for the ru­ral in­de­pen­dents. It’s promised to keep whole­sale prices uni­form whether cus­tomers live in the city or the bush and to an­a­lyse the im­pact to com­mu­ni­ties for any fu­ture pol­icy change on tech­nol­ogy. The pledges helped sway the in­de­pen­dents from sid­ing with the coali­tion on cer­tain amend­ments, en­sur­ing the pas­sage of two crit­i­cal Na­tional Broad­band Net­work ( NBN) bills.

In­de­pen­dent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Wind­sor yes­ter­day claimed the gov­ern­ment’s un­der­tak­ing as a win for the re­gions.

‘‘ The NBN is po­ten­tially the great­est piece of re­gional in­fra­struc­ture in this coun- try,’’ Mr Wind­sor said.

‘‘ This is one piece of in­fra­struc­ture that ac­tu­ally negates dis­tance as be­ing a dis­ad­van­tage.’’

The bills, re­lat­ing to ac­cess ar­range­ments and the deal­ings of NBN Co, should have passed last week, but were sub­ject to a raft of amend­ments on Fri­day.

Lower house MPs were then re­called yes­ter­day to give the changes the fi­nal tick-off, rather than head­ing off on what should of been their six-week au­tumn break. But de­bate kicked off with a lengthy dis­cus­sion about whether the amend­ments should even be con­sid­ered or not, de­lay­ing talk about ac­tual leg­is­la­tion for four hours. The coali­tion then in­tro­duced its amend­ments, prompt­ing ac-cu­sa­tions of hypocrisy for try­ing to change leg­is­la­tion that it ul­ti­mately op­poses.

On a day of fiery de­bate, the coali­tion also ac­cused the gov­ern­ment of fil­i­bus­ter­ing its own leg­is­la­tion as it worked to get the in­de­pen­dents on side. Op­po­si­tion com­mu­ni­ca­tions spokesman Mal­colm Turn­bull com­mented to Mr Oakeshott as he walked into the cham­ber later in the de­bate that he looked good ‘‘ for some­one that’s been wa­ter-boarded’’.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.