Delay in Telstra EGM on NBN another reminder of Gillard’s recklessness
So we learn today that Telstra will not be holding a shareholders meeting to approve the deal with the NBN by July 1. Apparently the NBN world is not going to come to an end, although we were told last year by Julia Gillard and Stephen Conroy that unless the NBN legislation was passed by Christmas the utterly critical shareholders meeting could not be held by the equally critical date of July 1 2011.
One assumes that the delay is the consequence of Telstra’s management taking great care to ensure that its shareholders are protected in what will be a very large and very complex transaction. No doubt central to the negotiations is the very high probability that the NBN is never completed. Most people in the industry I talk to are of the view that even if the Labor Party were to stay in Government the crippling costs of the project will cause it to be abandoned, at least in the form it has been announced.
So if partial completion only of the NBN is a real risk, Telstra will be insisting that the cost of that risk is borne by the Government and one suspects that this issue is one of the reasons for the delay.
But above all else, this delay shows Telstra in stark contrast to the Government. Telstra is taking its time to make sure that the deal is properly analysed and documented and in a form which will be of advantage to its shareholders. The Government on the other hand paid scant regard to the interests of its shareholders – taxpayers – and rushed headlong into the deal without any proper analysis, let alone any consideration, of whether the objective of universal fast broadband could be achieved at a lower cost.