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Notice given 14 March 2002

193  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts—

(1) Did the Government pressure Telstra to increase its latest half-yearly dividend, despite Telstra recording a 20 per cent drop in profit; if not, what explanation did Telstra provide for the increase.

(2) Does the Government agree with the recent comment of Telstra’s Chief Executive Officer, Dr Switkowski, to the effect that there is no sign of a rebound in profits until the end of the calendar year.

(3) Will the extra $192.5 million in Government revenue be spent on improving telephone and Internet services, particularly in rural areas.