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Courage calling!! Nationals must stand firm on Telstra sell-off.



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3 July 2002

COURAGE CALLING!!

NATIONALS MUST STAND FIRM ON TELSTRA SELL-OFF

The National Party’s internal turmoil will be borne out this week when the Queensland National Party Conference reaffirms its opposition to the full sale of Telstra.

Today’s Australian blows the lid off the National Party’s internal rumblings and shows that the John Anderson federal team will defy its own membership if they succumb to Liberal pressure to sell the rest of Telstra.

The National’s Queensland President, Mr Terry Bolger, has confirmed what the people of rural and regional Australia already know - telecommunication services in the bush are not up to scratch and privatisation won’t fix that.

Public ownership is the best option to keep the pressure on Telstra to deliver full and equitable telecommunications service provisions for all Australians, not just those in the cities.

Members of the Queensland National Party must stand up to their Federal Parliamentarians and ensure they stay true to the guarantee they made in 2000 that Telstra will remain in public hands.

But the record shows a dismal performance in muscling up to the Liberal Cabinet. The Nationals got rolled when $300 million was slashed from roads funding in the Budget and the tone is set for the same to happen on Telstra.

More and more the line is blurring between the Coalition Parties and now the Nationals have the chance to actually come good on what they claim to do - represent the people of rural and regional Australia.

I urge delegates to the Queensland National Party Conference this week to have the courage to stand firm, listen to their constituents and stand up to the John Anderson federal team and stick with their opposition to the full sale of Telstra.

If not, then be prepared to stand condemned as the Party that fails its own and cowers to the Howard/Costello Liberal team yet again.

Contact: Blythe Hamilton 03 9482 4644 or 0407 099 104

Federal M ember for Batm an

Shadow M inister for Regional and Urban Developm ent, Transport and Infrastructure

Martin Ferguson MP

MEDIA RELEASE