Telstra split talks continue

Fielding may vote down bill

Debate over the carve-up of Telstra continues after the Federal Opposition failed in a last-ditch bid to torpedo the legislation.

The motion by Opposition Senator, Nick Minchin, was voted down — 31 votes to 32 — in senate, but not before Telstra shares jumped 8 cents to $2.99 after a three-month fall.

Parliament is expected to debate the Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Competition and Consumer Safeguards) Bill into next week, however it could conclude as early as today.

Communications minister, Stephen Conroy, failed in a bid to introduce the bill into senate. Conroy will need the support of the Greens — who were ready to debate the bill when it was introduced two weeks ago — after Family First Senator Steve Fielding stated he would oppose the legislation.

Shadow communications minister, Tony Smith, said the coalition is “utterly opposed” to the bill.

“Labor’s legislation is a deliberate assault on Telstra and its 1.4 million shareholders and 30,000 employees,” Smith said in a statement.

The minister’s intention to have the legislation passed by the end of 2009 was set back following the introduction of the Emission Trading Scheme and a Liberal party shake up.

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