Telstra sale legislation debated in Australian House of Representatives, considered "urgent"
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
The legislation and amendments ensuring the sale of Australia's half-privatized telecommunications provider, Telstra, was moved and debated on September 12. The / coalition government has come under criticism for the allotting of time for debate as being insufficient.
In Federal Parliament Tony Abbott moved to adjourn debate at 9.06pm, to which his counterpart Julia Gillard attempted to adjourn the Telstra debate until today, but Abbott put the question and used the Government's majority to move debate onward.
Abbott then moved that the legislation, comprising of three bills, be considered as urgent and allotted approximately forty-five minutes to debate all three. The Opposition had attempted to further amend the urgency motion which failed due to Government majority — there were sixin the space of approximately half an hour, all which failed. Gillard and had called the process "a disgrace", and the amendments (negotiated earlier by Senator ) were termed the "'Backdown Barnaby' bribe" by before the Deputy Speaker asked him to withdraw.
Whilst the Government has an absolute majority in the Australian Senate, it is not guaranteed that the necessary legislation will pass this house. Garnering the support of key Senator Joyce is critical to ensure that the bills will pass (as he will have the deciding vote) and he has already stated that, due to a damning report released earlier in the House of Representatives showing that fourteen percent of lines were faulty amongst other criticism, that it has turned the "green [light] to amber" . Joyce was crucial in defeating a Senate Opposition motion to delay debate until October 4, even though he himself agreed that the time for debate should be extended; he stated in an interview on the AM program on ABC Radio National that he voted against the motion as he believed crossing the floor would destroy any "political capital" he had to enable him to further negotiate improvements to the Telstra deal within his own party.
- Australian House of Representatives Hansard (Votes and Proceedings) (pdf), September 12, 2005.
- Australian Senate Hansard (Votes and Proceedings) (pdf), September 12, 2005.
- "Joyce's Telstra doubts return" — , September 12, 2005