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Stephen Smith's desperate lie on Australia Post.



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Stephen Smith’s desperate lie on Australia Post

Labor’s Shadow Minister, Stephen Smith, has resorted to telling lies about the standard letter community service obligation (CSO) to cover up for Labor’s lack of commitment to the CSO.

The CSO provides a cross-subsidy that ensures that people living in regional, rural and remote areas of Australia do not have to pay more than their city counterparts to send a standard letter within Australia.

Labor policy still hasn’t committed to the CSO. An old Labor Party Platform and personal statements by Stephen Smith do not disguise the fact that his own leader’s postal policy makes absolutely commitment to retaining the postal CSO.

In attempting to cover up for Labor’s embarrassing junking of the CSO, Stephen Smith has now incorrectly claimed:

"The Government’s Postal Services Legislation Bill 2000 would reduce the size and weight of the standard letter, allowing more than 45 cents to be charged for items that the current 45 cent price cap applies to." (Press release, 18/10/01)

This claim by Stephen Smith is wrong.

The Postal Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2000 made no changes whatsoever to Australia Post's existing Community Service Obligation (ie standard sized letters weighing up to 250 grams can be sent anywhere in Australia for 45 cents.)

In fact, the Bill actually made it explicitly clear that Australia Post would continue its current community service obligation to carry letters weighing anything up to (and including) 250 grams.

Stephen Smith has been caught out deliberately misrepresenting the truth when he claimed that the CSO would be reduced.

It is amazing that Labor wouldn’t commit to this important consumer protection measure because without the CSO, it is estimated that the cost of sending a standard letter between locations in rural and remote Australia would increase by up to 200%.

Unlike Labor which deregulated postal services when it was last in government, the Coalition is 100% committed to keeping the standard letter CSO, so all Australians can send a standard letter anywhere in Australia at the one price.

Media Contact: Annabelle Herd, 03 9650 0233 or 0408 293 458

E31/01 19 October 2001