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Monday, 26 March 2001
Page: 25585

Mr STEPHEN SMITH (3:03 PM) —My question is also to the Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the National Party and Minister for Transport and Regional Services. It follows on from his answer to the question from the member for Bass in respect of Australia Post when the Deputy Prime Minister said that the deregulation of Australia Post was not part of government policy and that that suggestion was an absurdity. Deputy Prime Minister, does that mean that the government is proposing to withdraw the Postal Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2000 from parliamentary consideration or does it mean that you were simply not aware that that legislation has the effect of further deregulating Australia Post services, to the detriment of rural and regional Australia?

Mr ANDERSON (Deputy Prime Minister) —To describe the actions that we are undertaking in relation to Australia Post as deregulation would be as absurd as calling it privatisation. I was challenged by a member on my side to just actually point out to the House how many post offices have actually opened—post offices that provide services to Australians—since we have been in government, and the answer is 105.