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O'Chee tries to gag De-Anne Kelly...and rural and regional Australia.

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Stephen Smith MP

Member for Perth

Shadow Minister for Communications



Tuesday April 6th 1999


O’Chee tries to gag De-Anne Kelly…and rural

and regional Australia


Shadow Communications Minister, Stephen Smith, said today that Natio nal Party Senator Bill O’Chee’s attack on party colleague, De-Anne Kelly, is further evidence that the Coalition is in panic mode over its proposed sale of Telstra.


Senator O’Chee claimed today that “...there‘s no split in the National Party... “over the Telstra sale. He also said “... .there ‘s certainly no support (for Mrs Kelly’s concerns).”


“The fact remains that Mrs Kelly has sent Senator Harradine a coded message — a message from rural and regional Australia - that says “Don’t flog off any more of Telstra— don‘t sell one more share!”.


“And Mrs Kelly is quite right to send this message. It is what the people of rural and regional Australia are saying.


“Everyone knows that Senator Harradine has ruled out the full sale of Telstra — “full stop, end of story”.


“Everyone also knows that Senator Harradine is now contemplating whether Telstra should remain at 33.3% private ownership, or be authorised by his vote to be sold up to 49.9%.


“Mrs Kelly’s letter to Senator Harradine should be seen for what it is — a note slipped under his door asking him to stop any further sale of Telstra.


“Mrs Kelly and the Queensland National Party organisation want Senator Harradine to do for rural Australia what they will not do themselves — vote against the sale of any more Telstra shares.


“The National Party was spooked by the outcome in the bush in the New South Wales election, where an anti-privatisation sentiment spelt disaster for the Coalition. Mrs Kelly got the message. Senators Boswell and O’Chee ignore it at their own peril.


“Mrs Kelly knows that bush bribes will not work. Full privatisation supporters like Senator O’Chee must learn that short term handouts will ultimately do nothing to advance long term infrastructure development in rural and regional Australia.”


Media Contact: Patrick Bindon (02) 6277 4108 or 0415 694 878