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Wednesday, 8 November 2000
Page: 22436

Mr WILKIE (3:30 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Finance and Administration. Minister, can you confirm that the 2000 budget assumes that you sell the rest of Telstra and therefore includes a reduced amount of public debt interest outlays? After offsetting lost dividends, how much is this amount? Minister, if you do not know, will you report back to the House later today with the answer?

Mr FAHEY (Minister for Finance and Administration) —The budgets which have been delivered now for five years by the coalition government have adopted the same methodology when it came to asset sales that was applied by the previous Labor government for some 13 years. As I indicated in answer to a question earlier in question time, it is not the practice of governments to speculate on what any particular sale might bring. Clearly, one does not speculate for reasons of not giving any indication to the market as to what the government considers the value might be or might not be. The same methodology is adopted in preparing the budget on asset sales as was used by the former Labor government, and the government will continue to apply that methodology. If the honourable member wants to find out what was in the 2000 budget, I suggest that, despite the fact that it is now six months since the documents were released, he might go back and have a look at what was in those papers and examine them a little more thoroughly. But the methodology is the same and I do not intend to speculate or change that. It will not be the practice of this government to change what was previously done by the Labor government when it came to questions of asset sales.