Federation Chamber BILLS Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2012-2013 Consideration in Detail

Mr HUSIC (Chifley—Government Whip) (17:24): A number of things have been said today by people who are already in possession of the information, they already know the detail, yet they seek to come in here and effectively reinvent history. Obviously, from time to time I get that that is the case in politics—no big shock. But the shadow minister definitely knows about the time that was required for NBN and Telstra to negotiate and the undertakings and the deal that was done there. On top of that we had the other issue of the ACCC moving to increase the number of points of interconnect in this country, not just from the five that were proposed but to over 120 points of interconnect, which required a massive reorganisation of plans that changed the nature of corporate plans as they were once presented to where they are now and needed to be accommodating of that.

It is easy to try and score the cheap political point here today—to try to go back in time, pick at a corporate plan at one point, ignore a ruling by the ACCC at the other and then get your bingo moment that might try and make a media release a bit more saucy now but will not necessarily reflect the reality as it had rolled out over the course of the last few years. On top of this, in terms of having a start up—which in effect is what NBN Co. is—we have had those opposite try and point out that NBN Co. is not rolling out to as many places as it should, even though we are now investing massively in renewing our broadband infrastructure in this country—

Mr Chester interjecting—

Mr HUSIC: Yes, exactly, member for Gippsland, I do not know if you do not like—

Mr Albanese: He never says no to anything!

Mr HUSIC: He doesn't? I do not know if he has taken a position of opposition to the NBN. If he has, we are more than happy to reprioritise investment away. But the other thing is that I have noted a number of times, Minister—and I would actually like you to address this, if you could—that those opposite have claimed that the treatment of the equity injection that you referred to at the start of this session should be expensed on the budget. That is what they have said. They have said that they should do something that they did not do when they were in government that we do not do now. They are saying that when it comes to the NBN it should be expensed in the budget. They said, for example, that we have fudged the books because we do not do this. I would not mind knowing, in the time remaining, when it comes to the expensing of the NBN, why have we not done it in the way that the opposition has proposed, and why are we not expensing in the way that they are suggesting?

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Ed Husic MP
Federal Labor Member for Chifley


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