Greens hobble proposed NBN sell-off

 

Put to parliamentary vote.

The Greens have won concessions on the proposed sale of the NBN by the Government that will require a vote in parliament before it can proceed.

The breakthrough, revealed by the party's ICT spokesman Scott Ludlam on ABC AM this morning, meant the Government could now count on the Greens support to pass legislation currently before the Senate.

The proposed legislation would put in place a regulatory framework for the NBN and also structurally separate Telstra.

Debate was expected to resume later today.

"We've inserted a public interest test and we've made sure it would be submitted to a vote in parliament so that if a future government wants to privatise NBN... they'll be forced to prove whether or not it's in the public interest," Ludlam told ABC AM.

Within hours of the Greens deal, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy began pressuring Liberal and National Party Senators to allow passage of the bill.

"If the Liberals and Nationals are serious about improving competition in the telecommunications sector and delivering better services for their constituents, they need to support the bill," he said.

Without Coalition support, the Government would need to win over independents Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding.

Fielding was the only independent known to have accepted a confidential briefing on the NBN Co business plan on the Government's terms, which included a non-disclosure agreement spanning seven years.

Other key independents had baulked at the condition. Xenophon told ABC AM that the non-disclosure period was now "two weeks" but that he still wouldn't accept a briefing.

Xenophon told the program he planned to meet with NBN Co chief Mike Quigley later today.

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Greens hobble proposed NBN sell-off
 
 
 
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