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Democrats sell out on Telstra price rises.



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MEDIA RELEASE

LINDSAY TANNER MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

DEMOCRATS SELL OUT ON TELSTRA PRICE RISES

The Australian Democrats have sold out Australian consumers.

Their decision to side with the Government in pushing through unfair Telstra price rises shows once again that the Democrats just can’t be trusted.

Thanks to the Australian Democrats and the Howard Government, Australians will now be paying more for phone line rentals with no guaranteed reduction in local call costs.

The Democrats received a paltry $10 million per annum, with no legislative backing from Telstra, in return for supporting Telstra’s massive line rental increases, now locked in until 2005. By the Government’s own calculations, Telstra’s profits will increase by $170 million from the new package. The Democrats’ dud deal leaves Australian consumers $160 million worse off.

When standard phone line rentals hit $32 per month in the next few years, Australian can thank the Democrats and the Howard Government.

The party that gave low-income Australians the GST has now rubbed salt into their wounds by allowing John Howard to drastically increase the cost of their telephones.

The telephone is an essential service, not a luxury. In the Senate on September 19, Senator Alston said, “if you think line rentals are too high, you don’t have a phone do you? No one is forcing you to be on the line.” It would appear that the Democrats agree with him.

November 13, 2002

For further information contact Lindsay Tanner or Peter van Vliet on 02 6277 4428 or 0408 188 055