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Coalition ready to tear itself apart: unable to govern.



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MEDIA RELEASE

 

BOB McMULLAN MP

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, FINANCE AND THE ARTS

MEMBER FOR CANBERRA

 

For immediate release, Tuesday 29 September 1998

 

COALITION READY TO TEAR ITSELF APART- UNABLE TO GOVERN

 

Liberal election candidate Albie Shultz has rebelled against John Howard’s plan to sell-off the rest of Telstra, further highlighting Coalition disunity, Labor frontbencher Bob McMullan said today.

 

Mr Schulz, the Liberal candidate for the NSW seat of Hume, has announced he won’t support the sell-off of more than 49 per cent of Telstra.

 

Mr McMullan said a narrow win for the Coalition in Saturday’s election would spark a rebellion by backbenchers opposed to Mr Howard’s plan to hand 100 per cent of Telstra over to private investors, many of them foreign.

 

“The Prime Minister has managed to paper over the cracks in Coalition unity for most of the campaign,” he said. “A big loss of seats on Saturday would set off mass panic by many Government backbenchers. They would make it impossible for John Howard to govern.

 

“How many other Liberal and National MPs are ready to join the Alby Schultz rebellion? He is just one of many Coalition candidates who have been taking stick from voters on the Telstra issue.

 

“He knows Australians are totally opposed to the sell-off, particularly in regional Australia and he’s running scared. So are many other Liberals and Nationals.

 

“Mr Schultz says he’s standing up for the views of people who live in Hume. It’s a pity John Howard won’t stand up for Australians everywhere who share their views.”

 

Mr McMullan said electing a Labor Government on Saturday is the only way Australians can stop the sale of Telstra.

 

“However small his majority, Mr Howard will press on with the sale of Telstra,” Mr McMullan said. “He needs the revenue it would raise to pay for the tax cuts he has promised the more wealthy in our community.

 

“If Mr Schultz had his way, Mr Howard would only be able to sell another 16 per cent of Telstra, leaving the Government share at 51 per cent. That would blow a $500 million hole in Mr Howard’s Budget figures.”

 

More information: Mike Roberts (02) 6273 2299

 

 

 

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