The federal government's proposed break-up of Telstra is "legislative
blackmail", the opposition says.
Labor wants Telstra's wholesale and retail businesses separated - either
voluntarily or by force - to create a more level playing field before
rolling out its $43 billion high-speed national broadband network (NBN).
Under legislation introduced into parliament last month, the telco would be
required to divest itself of its cable television interests and a 50 per
cent stake in Foxtel before expanding its advanced wireless broadband
However, Telstra would be allowed to retain its interests in Foxtel if it
submits to the Australian Competition and Consumer Competition an acceptable
undertaking to structurally separate.
"What they are proposing is legislative blackmail, the results of which I
think would be disadvantageous to the 22 million Australians which rely on
Telstra," opposition communications spokesman Nick Minchin told Network Ten
"This NBN can't be built without the co-operation of Telstra, (Labor) should
take away the gun at their head, negotiate in good faith with Telstra and
try to come to some arrangement which would save their NBN."