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August 1, 2005

As Canberra becomes increasingly concerned about Telstra's opposition to subsidising rural and regional phone services and government regulation, the Queensland Nationals are flexing their muscles. They are drawing lines in the sand, talking tough about their five pillar policy and fingering their political guns.


By all accounts the Nationals see themselves as the effective opposition in the Senate over policy issues such as Telstra, banning compulsory student union, an ethanol mandate, and stem cell research. They stand for something these days beyond pork barelling and self-interest. They are back in business.

We will wait and see what they deliver.

Did you notice that there is not much talk about competition and telecomunications by the Nationals. Why not design the market so that consumers in regional Australia can have a range of services offered by a range of competitors?

Update: 2 August 2005
In In a speech to a Telstra Country Wide Advisory Board dinner, So Trujillo attacked federal competition laws as anti-competition:

They are rules that belong to the last century. Instead of fostering competition, they hinder it. Instead of promoting innovation, they stifle it. Instead of protecting the consumer, they deny choices to the consumer.

Maybe. Telstra's community service obligations to the bush is ompatible with a egulatory regime based on competition at all cost.

But it is hard to feel sorry for Telstra for being is being "strangled" by regulations and having to bear alone the burden of improving services to the bush. Telstra is well known for playing the anti-competitive game very hard top prevent alternative services from developing.

Of course, nothing was said about that lack of interest in Australian consumers by the gorilla in the marketplace. Nor was anything said about the current anachronistic arrangements subsidising Telstra's monopoly and helping Telstra suppress competition.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:48 PM | | Comments (2)


Its all just advertising and media spin at the moment, no legislative voting has occurred. Now lets not forget the Nationals did vote for T1 and T2.

Are they standing up for a change? Time will tell.

I wonder when the legislation comes to a vote who will be conspicuously absent and whether its organised so it happens late at night.

I guess it makes a difference from the Nationals being happy to be a doormate for the Liberals.

It is only the Queensland Nationals who are flexing their muscle by saying that their primary political allegiance is to the Queensland. They have a point thought. Most people in rural and regional Australia expect a worse deal on telecommunications services and prices under a privatised, gungho Telstra.

That opposition places the National Party leadership in the position of walking a path that requires them to satisfy the demands of the Queensland state branch and the Coalition Government.

Horse trading is the order of the day me thinks.