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Independents, Greens & Dems firm against Telstra sale.

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Peter Andren MP - Independent Member for Calare

9 March 2004

Independents, Greens & Dems firm against Telstra sale

Independent and minor party MPs and Senators reaffirmed their opposition to any further sale of the majority public share of Telstra in a press conference at Parliament House today.

Independent House of Representatives members Peter Andren (Calare), Tony Windsor (New England), Bob Katter (Kennedy), Greens Member for Cunningham Michael Organ, Democrats Senator John Cherry and One Nation Senator Len Harris held the conference with apologies from independent Senators Brian Harradine and Shayne Murphy.

Senator Harradine included a statement that he saw no reason to change his opposition to ‘any move that would see majority control [of Telstra] pass from public hands to private hands’.

“Each of us again confirmed our opposition to the further sale of Telstra, representing the feeling of the overwhelming majority of Australians on this issue,” Mr Andren said.

“The Australian people are not convinced by the half-pregnant, rationalist argument supporting the sale, or the view that a majority government owned Telstra is a gorilla in the marketplace.

“The people want the gorilla on a leash and they want the leash in their own hands.

“Senator Harris announced the results of a survey he conducted in Queensland, with similar results to those conducted by myself and my independent colleagues. 92% of respondents were firmly against any further privatisation even though 58% acknowledged services had improved.

“The fact is, as far as the Australian people are concerned, improved service is not and never will be an excuse to sell the rest of Telstra.

“Regulation will not guarantee services and affordable access to the latest technology for rural and regional Australia where the populations are smaller and widely spread,” Mr Andren said.

“Only continued majority public ownership of Telstra can deliver this outcome in the bush, and with today’s commitment from the cross benches, this is what we’ll get,” he added.

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