[LINK] The Funny Pages, Was: Key NBN bill passes the Senate

Tom Koltai tomk at unwired.com.au
Sat Mar 26 12:11:39 AEDT 2011

> -----Original Message-----
> From: link-bounces at mailman.anu.edu.au 
> [mailto:link-bounces at mailman.anu.edu.au] On Behalf Of Jan Whitaker
> Sent: Saturday, 26 March 2011 9:53 AM
> To: link at anu.edu.au
> Subject: Re: [LINK] Key NBN bill passes the Senate
> At 09:04 AM 26/03/2011, Tom Worthington wrote:
> >However, the review does not of itself change the FOI Act to 
> cover NBN 
> >Co. It seems reasonable to me that the FOI act should apply 
> to NBN Co., 
> >given that it has a legislated monopoly and acts at the direction of 
> >the Minister for Broadband.
> That's unfortunate. I saw in The Age this morning that NBN just has 
> to demonstrate they have lawfully complied with something they don't 
> have to comply with. Huh?
> "The government also agreed to review after one year whether NBN Co 
> was complying with freedom-of-information laws, after a 
> Greens amendment." 
> http://www.theage.com.au/national/senate-gives-ok-to-broadband
> -laws-20110325-1ca9q.html
> It doesn't exactly say that. It says the following and there is NO 
> change to the FOI requirements of NBN Co at all (see point 4 below):
> 100A   Review of operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 so 
> far as that Act relates to documents of NBN Co
>               (1)  Before the first anniversary of the commencement 
> of this section, the FOI Minister must cause to be conducted a review 
> of the operation of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 so far as 
> that Act relates to documents of NBN Co.
>               (2)  The FOI Minister must cause to be prepared a 
> report of a review under subsection (1).
>               (3)  The FOI Minister must cause copies of the report 
> to be tabled in each House of the Parliament.
>               (4)  For the purposes of this section, the question of 
> whether a document is a document of NBN Co is to be determined in the 
> same manner as that question is determined under the Freedom of 
> Information Act 1982 .
>               (5)  In this section:
> document has the same meaning as in the Freedom of 
> Information Act 1982 . FOI Minister means the Minister 
> administering the Freedom of 
> Information Act 1982 .
> There are other groups that have been said to be outside FOI, such as 
> NEHTA. [Roger, correct me if I have this wrong.] This has been a 
> problem because of the level of reliance the country has on this 
> group for eHealth, and in particular for the last 10 years, 
> electronic health records.
> It's like we have this second government operating, either through 
> assigned 'independent' qangos that just fall outside the compliance 
> rules or public-private-partnerships where commercial in confidence 
> comes into play.
> In the first, it's ALL public money that is funding them, so they 
> should be covered by the same rules we expect of the government 
> agencies to whom they answer. It's like the govt department has this 
> checklist when dreaming up the structure to handle a program: do we 
> want to hide some of this and keep the public out? Yes = Set up 
> qango. No = set up department task force.

Ohh goody, multi-choice. Let me add a couple.

The Third option...

Public Relations and Financial Equity of the Publics Investment.
It's not a qango at all imho, it is merely the Government implementing
Chinese wall style wikileaksproofing.

The Fourth Option...

Structural Separation of Commercial Interests and Policy Makers.
The NBN has always been planned as a corporate entity that will in the
future (once the network is established [[then if, and = profitable]])
be sold off.
Past experience with the Telstra sell-off has taught Government that the
liabilities of Government responsibility (divorced in the Telstra sell
off through the future fund) weigh heavily on the minds of future
shareholders [ethics funds] and institutional investors [unethical funds
{;-)}] and is therefore best removed before the public liability is

The Fifth option.  

Competitively sensitive data
Regardless of the NBN's origins, the reality is that aspects of the
NBN's business case should remain confidential to allow the organisation
to meet it's obligation to the Australian people, i.e.: repay the debt.
(Unless of course, a monopoly of Telecommunications results in the
economy taking a steeper dive due to lack of competitive infrastructure
development and technology advancements; but of course, our politicians
have learnt from the Telstra rort of the nineties and 00's and certainly
wouldn't allow that to happen again.)

The Sixth option.

Just about all the Public servants [including non FOI reporting
independent Government authorities] are expecting a July Election with a
Liberal Government resulting...
(me personally, I would have the election in the Spring... But the
fourth quarter figures will be telling. Especially if China stops buying
Steel and with 64 million vacant apartments [1], the building of large
empty cities will eventually stop - which of course means that as we [oz
industry] don't make anything else to export, we will be in the
proverbial creek.) Caveat:[This is an opinion and is probably wrong. My
opinion does not constitute financial advice. I wouldn't buy or sell any
shares based on my opinion and neither should you. The writer does not
hold any sort of financial advisors license and is not qualified to have
any opinion about the ASX or in fact any ASX listed corp.]


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