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Telstra T3 fire sale shambles.

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Bendigo Phone: 03 5443 9055 Fax: 03 5443 9736 P/O Box 338 Bendigo Vic 3552

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6th September 2006

Telstra T3 fire sale shambles.

The political interests of the Howard government are dictating the agenda on the Telstra sale based on the short-term political interest of the Government rather than the national interest of Australian’s, according to the Federal Member for Bendigo Steve Gibbons

Speaking in Federal Parliament on Tuesday, Mr Gibbons said the Howard government’s T3 sale was putting downward pressure on share prices, as institutions have sold existing shares to enable them to buy in at cheaper rates in the T3 offer.

He said the government has loaded the sale with the sweetener of a full dividend even when you have only paid for part of the share, but once that runs out and the Future Fund is allowed to sell its shares, the pressures on share prices will be enormous.

“The timing of the sale could not be worse, even under the Howard government’s poor record: fibre rollout stalled, regulatory conflict unresolved and the share price falling”, Mr Gibbons said.

“The Howard government would have us believe that a conflict of interest exists under the current partial privatisation because the majority shareholder ie the Federal Government - is also the regulator”.

“The Coalition conveniently ignores the fact that the government still owns and regulates the ABC and Australia Post and it will still own one-third of Telstra by parking one third of the value in the Government owned Future Fund”.

“The Telstra T3 offer is a politically - driven fire sale that hurts shareholders, taxpayers, consumers, and Telstra staff. It's a shambles, and it is being arranged to suit John Howard's political interests”, Mr Gibbons said.