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Australian Senate to debate Telstra legislation

Senate set to debate Telstra legislation

The Government will tomorrow introduce the legislation relating to the full sale of Telstra, the Manager for Government Business in the Senate, Senator Chris Ellison, said today.

Senator Ellison said Senate debate on the legislation would start tomorrow and continue Thursday. It would then be referred to the Senate Committee which will table its report on Monday 12 September when debate will continue, he said.

“Any suggestion that the Telstra legislation should be held up in the Committee process for longer than this ignores the fact that the issues surrounding the full sale of Telstra had already undergone intense parliamentary and public scrutiny,” Senator Ellison said.

“Over recent years a total of four exhaustive telecommunications inquiries and 11 inquiries with reports into telecommunications had been conducted by the Senate, including two separate inquiries into previous Senate Telstra sale bills.

“That’s not to mention the other major public inquiries into telecommunications including the Besley and Estens reports.”

Senator Ellison said the previous Labor government had given only two days to examine major broadcasting law changes, four days for health and community services reforms, five days to probe laws to restructure the Commonwealth Bank and seven days to look at native title legislation.

In addition, those bills never faced the extensive scrutiny that the sale of Telstra had undergone, he said.

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