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Stephen Smith plays the man not the ball.



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Stephen Smith plays the man not the ball  

'Stephen Smith, the Shadow Spokesperson for Telecommunications, has finally revealed that he cannot substantiate his attacks on the independence of the inquiry into the adequacy of telecommunications services in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas,' the Federal Minister for Information Technology, Senator Richard Alston, said today.

'Stephen Smith continues to play the man, preferring to attack the personal credibility of the chairman of the inquiry, Mr Tim Besley, instead of concentrating on the important issue of service levels.

'Stephen Smith has today revealed his complete lack of interest in the facts on this issue. When asked by a journalist this morning if he had any evidence to substantiate his claims that the advisory board of which Mr Tim Besley is a member lobbying for the full sale of Telstra, Mr Smith replied "That's not the point." (3LO, 22/03/00)

'Well that clearly is the point, as this was the opportunity for Mr Smith to step up to the plate and substantiate his claims and he couldn't.

'Just last month we had Mr Smith threatening Telstra with unspecified retaliation if the company dared to oppose Labor's views on Telstra and now we have him making unsubstantiated claims about the integrity of a respected member of the Australian community.

'This is an independent inquiry into the adequacy of telecommunications services in metropolitan, regional, rural and remote areas and there is simply no room for the bully-bot tactics of Stephen Smith and the Australian Labor Party.

Media Contact: Sasha Grebe, Minister's office 02 6277 7480 or 0409 445 246 Website www.richardalston.dcita.gov.au

026/00 22 March 2000