White Pages. Image: reinvented (Flickr)

White Pages. Image: reinvented (Flickr)

The Senate Committee on Environment and Communications has published a report which recommends against prohibiting charges for silent (unlisted) numbers.

This is a very disappointing outcome given that all but one of submissions received (including EFA’s), strongly recommended the introduction of such a prohibition. The Australian Law Reform Commission also recommended the introduction of a prohibition, back in 2008. The only submission which opposed a prohibition was that from Telstra.

The only organisation that benefits from the continued practice of charging for silent numbers is Telstra, and particularly its subsidiary Sensis, which publishes the White Pages directories and maintains the online White Pages website.

Three Senators - Doug Cameron (ALP, NSW), Scott Ludlam (Greens, WA) and Catryna Bilyk (ALP, Tas) - published a dissenting report which argued that a prohibition should be introduced.

All Australians deserve the option to have the privacy benefits of an unlisted land line (mobile numbers are unlisted by default) without having to incur additional costs.

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