Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 02 Hansard (Tuesday, 4 March 2008) . . Page.. 460 ..
problems. How we address them is not rocket science. The most sensible thing would be to do it properly and to get it right first time. Hence, there is our opposition to 26—only in that there is a need for some further work in this part: further work which needs to be done quickly, for the sake of all concerned. That would be a far better way of doing it than having to come back and correct problems which are now foreseen.
It is a shame that, although Telstra has obviously been in contact with the minister for a little while, the first we heard of it was yesterday. It is a bit of a shame. They probably left it a bit late to see him, too.
Mr Corbell: A couple of weeks.
MR STEFANIAK: A couple of weeks, yes. And again they saw him at 1 o’clock yesterday, which is the day before the debate, and they saw me at 2 o’clock. They see the minister one day before the debate is due and they see me on the same day. There is not much time. I have not had a chance to go through what they are suggesting in detail. They have now provided a series of suggested amendments. It is a shame that they did not see us a month or so ago—or more—to give a bit more lead-in time. Then we probably would not be having this part of the debate today.
But it is important to get the legislation right. Accordingly, if the minister does not want to adjourn the matter, it would be best to take this out and fix it up as quickly as possible so that everyone, especially consumers, get the legitimate protection they need. Let us do it properly.
MR MULCAHY (Molonglo) (5.56): I will speak briefly. I join the underlying sentiment in what Mr Stefaniak said about the performance of Telstra in putting their case forward. Having just spoken to Dr Foskey, let me say that neither of us has had any approach from Telstra or their government relations people. That is pretty poor—if, as appears to be the case, they raised this with the shadow minister 24 hours before the bill was to come before the house.
I do not know of any company in Australia that has more hired guns in public affairs than Telstra. I have taken up issues on their behalf—but not just for them—which they have been concerned about, such as the utilities tax. I am unpersuaded. I am struggling to understand the concern Mr Stefaniak has, although he has talked about people losing numbers and so on. I would want to see the concerns thoroughly tested. If lobby groups are not willing to get their act together and put their case to all interests in this place, they must live with the consequence of government legislation.
So I am going to support the government’s move. If they had concerns, they should have raised them earlier with the minister, and with the shadow minister and the crossbench. I have not yet heard a compelling, persuasive argument that would convince me that the legislation is deficient. If they have got a concern, they might come along. We can all look at amendments, but the jury is out as far as I am concerned. It has not been advanced terribly well.
DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (5.58): I say ditto to what Mr Mulcahy just said. I will call these the Telstra amendments until I have some understanding that we are seeing our