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Bob Carr supports Federal Government on Telstra.

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Bob Carr supports Federal Government on Telstra

Labor's most senior politician, NSW Premier Bob Carr has blindsided Simon Crean on Telstra by agreeing with the Federal Government that Telstra could be sold once services in regional Australia are up to scratch.

Bob Carr told Dubbo radio yesterday that he was only opposed to the further sale of Telstra:

"until we can get a decent level of rural service."

Mr Carr's comments effectively mirror the Coalition's federal election policy which makes clear that the Government will not proceed with any further sale of Telstra until it is fully satisfied that arrangements are in place to deliver adequate telecommunications services to all Australians.

Notably a spokesman for Mr Carr is reported in today's media as saying that his boss' remarks were not contrary to Labor policy. The same spokesman has also indicated that the sale of Telstra is a matter of when and not if.

In addition, Federal Labor's Shadow Treasurer, Bob McMullan, and Communications Shadow Minister, Lindsay Tanner, have both stated that Telstra's current structural arrangements are untenable.

Mr Crean is now the proverbial shag on a rock with his most senior Premier publicly contradicting his "just say no" policy on Telstra and his own key Shadow Ministers publicly admitting that Telstra's current situation is untenable.

The Australian public well remembers that it was Bob Carr through John Della Bosca who told Mr Crean that his GST rollback policy should be ditched - and in the end it was. This time Mr Carr is delivering the message personally. Mr Crean has never given any valid reason why Labor's position on Telstra, unlike all of its other policies, should not be reviewed.

Mr Carr's reality check makes Mr Crean's modernisation push look like a sick joke -pretending that a marginal change in the trade union movement's domination of Labor is the main game while burying his head in the sand on one of the biggest policy issues in Australian politics.

How can Mr Crean refuse to revisit his Telstra policy when his most senior State and Federal colleagues are now in open revolt?


It is now time that Mr Crean took heed of Bob Carr's sage advice. If he does not, then it will be clear that he is simply waiting for the chance to get back into government so that he can sell Telstra just as Labor sold the Commonwealth Bank after promising the public that it would not.

Media contact: Sasha Grebe 02 6277 7480 or 0409 445 246 Website:

184/02 30 July 2002