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Telecom full steam ahead with time call proposal



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MEDIA RELEASE COMMONWEALTH

S E N A T O R T O N Y M E S S N E R S H A D O W MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS AUSTRALIA A IVA1.JU1A ./ THE SENATE 36/88

TELECOM FULL STEAM AHEAD WITH TIME CALL PROPOSAL

Telecom is treating the so-called "community consultation" process on timed local calls with contempt.

Senator Tony Messner, Shadow Minister for Communications, said that Telecom is proceeding full steam ahead with the introduction of timed local calls and instructing its staff to treat it as a

foregone conclusion.

In a recently circulated internal note, Telecom has advised its staff on how to handle questions from customers on the time call proposal.

Telecom is telling its staff that the precise charges to be

determined under the time-charging system have yet to be

finalised.

The note also explains that timed local calls will be introduced from mid-1989.

The Telecom note was circulated to staff after the Government announced its "community consultation" process.

"This note clearly shows that Telecom has made up its mind to

introduce a time-charging system for local telephone calls.

"The 'community consultation ' p r o c e d u r e s a r e a d e l i b e r a t e

d e l a y i n g t a c t i c b y the G o v e r n m e n t to s t a l l t he i n t r o d u c t i o n of t i m e d t e l e p h o n e c a l l s u n t i l a f t e r the A d e l a i d e b y - e l e c t i o n a n d the N S W S t a t e e l e c t i o n .

"To p e r s u a d e the G o v e r n m e n t int o a c c e p t i n g t he t i m e d c a l l

p r o p o s a l , T e l e c o m w i l l o b v i o u s l y p r o v i d e e x a g g e r a t e d a n d

m i s l e a d i n g i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t the e l d e r l y a n d so f o r t h c a n be f u l l y p r o t e c t e d .

"It a p p e a r s t h a t b o t h the G o v e r n m e n t a n d T e l e c o m a r e c o n s p i r i n g to h o o d w i n k the p u b l i c i n t o a c c e p t i n g the t i m e c a l l p r o p o s a l .

"Let n o - o n e be f o o l e d b y the G o v e r n m e n t ' s h a l f - h e a r t e d

a s s u r a n c e s . T i m e d l o c a l c a l l s w i l l b e i n t r o d u c e d s o m e t i m e in 1989," S e n a t o r M e s s n e r said.

"The t i m e d c a l l p r o p o s a l s h o u l d be d r o p p e d i m m e d i a t e l y as the P r i m e M i n i s t e r a n d T e l e c o m c a n n o t be t r u s t e d " .

5 F E B R U A R Y 1988 E N Q U I R I E S : T O N Y M E S S N E R (08) 2 13 2 2 4 0 (W)

27 2 8 0 8 5 (H)