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Anderson "dogs it" again on Telstra.

Anderson "Dogs It" Again On Telstra

 

Martin Ferguson - Shadow Minister for Regional Development

 

Media Statement - 22 March 2000

 

National Party leader John Anderson has once again failed the leadership test on the issue of Telstra by defending a decision not to hold full public hearings during the upcoming inquiry into Telstra's service delivery.

 

Asked on ABC Radio today whether members of the public will be able to attend open hearings, Mr Anderson equivocated, saying:

 

• I understand that Mr Besley [Inquiry Chairman Tim Besley] doesn't necessarily see the value of what might be called town hall meetings.

 

Mr Anderson instead reluctantly agreed that the Chairman may choose to "allow people to appear personally" before the inquiry.

 

He qualified his statement by adding: "But I understand that he feels that actually having, if you like, open meetings where you tend not to get to the facts as quickly as you ought to is not the way that he wants to proceed."

 

It is clear from Mr Anderson's comments that the Government would rather keep ordinary people from making face-to-face submissions to the Telstra inquiry.

 

Once again, Mr Anderson has "dogged it" by failing to put his foot down on an issue that is clearly causing concern among people in the community and in his own National Party.

 

If this inquiry is to go ahead at all, it must be done under the full gaze of the public and that means through the use of proper public hearings.

 

Judging by the Government's actions so far, the only way people are going to get their message across about Telstra is if inquiry members can see the whites of their eyes.

 

It is time Mr Anderson and his Government allowed a proper parliamentary inquiry.

 

Authorised by Gary Gray, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.