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Australians to say good bye to reliable, affordable modern telecommunications.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator Lyn Allison Parliamentary Leader and Democrats Senator for Victoria

Dated: 25 August 2005 Press Release Number: 05/421 Portfolio: Communications

Australians to Say Good Bye to Reliable, Affordable ModernTelecommunications

Barnaby Joyce's decision today to back the full sale of Telstra will come as a shock and disappointment to those who voted for him on the grounds that he opposed the sale of Telstra

According to Australian Democrats Leader, Senator Lyn Allison, "Barnaby has sold out his constituents and the other 70 odd percent of Australian's who opposed the sale of Telstra, for a measly $3.1 billion out of a potential $33.8 billion raised form the sale.

"If Senator Joyce thinks this is a reasonable deal, then his objections to the sale were never serious.

"His additional proviso for Telstra's USO be tightened is just a poor distraction from the fact that the Nationals deal will not deliver for the bush, let alone the hundreds of thousands in metropolitan areas that cannot access affordable fast broadband.

The facts are that: The USO does not include mobile services or broadband; Telstra has reduced its investment in core infrastructure since it has been privatised; Telephone repair times have worsened in recent years; and A requirement to have a presence in the bush will do nothing to stop Telstra treating people in the regions as second class citizens;

"At a minimum Barnaby should have negotiated keeping the core infrastructure, the copper and the fibre, in Government hands, said Senator Allison.

"His failure to do this means that Australians, especially those outside capital cities, can say good bye to reliable, affordable modern telecommunications.

"If Barnaby Joyce is sure the package will deliver what he thinks it will, he should insist on a senate inquiry into the new legislation.

"This will give him and other coalition Senators a chance to examine thoroughly the details and seek expert opinion, before they vote, concluded Senator Allison.