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Humiliating backdown for Costello on Telstra IT jobs.



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MEDIA RELEASE

LINDSAY TANNER MP SHADOW MINISTER FOR COMMUNICATIONS

SENATOR KATE LUNDY SHADOW MINISTER FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, SHADOW MINISTER FOR SPORT, SHADOW MINISTER FOR THE ARTS

HUMILIATING BACKDOWN FOR COSTELLO ON TELSTRA IT JOBS

Peter Costello has been forced into a humiliating backdown over his comments regarding Telstra’s deal with IBM to send 450 Australian IT jobs to India.

On Wednesday, Mr Costello said, “I think that wherever possible those jobs ought to be located in Australia. Telstra ought to look at the situation carefully, they have to have a very good reason to show that they can’t find adequate Australian employment opportunities and Australians to fill them.”

After Labor revealed yesterday that the Government had been informed of Telstra’s off-shore outsourcing plans in September, Peter Costello went to ground. His office reportedly refused to take calls on Telstra. The only office that would take calls on Telstra, Daryl Williams’, said the outsourcing contracts were ‘commercial matters for Telstra and IBM’. The real position of the Howard Government was finally flushed out.

Two days after Peter Costello’s meaningless ramble on Telstra we now know the Government’s real position. The Howard Government long ago gave Telstra the green light for moving Australian IT jobs offshore. The Government is only concerned about fattening Telstra up for privatisation and doesn’t care if the Australian IT industry is gutted in the process.

Labor believes that with monopoly comes responsibility. Telstra is still a majority publicly owned company, earns huge profits and dominates the telecommunications industry. The Howard Government’s green light for Telstra’s overseas outsourcing deals is a national disgrace that flies in the face of the national interest.

January 16, 2004.

For further information contact Lindsay Tanner or Peter van Vliet on (03) 9347 5000 or 0408 188 055 or Kate Lundy on (02) 6277 3334.