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Liberal policy development process for sale.

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  Australian Labor Party   National ALP

Stephen Smith - Liberal Policy Development Process For Sale Wednesday, 21 March 2001

Liberal Policy Development Process For Sale Stephen Smith - Shadow Minister for Communications

Media Statement - 16 March 2001

Shadow Minister for Communications, Stephen Smith, said today that the Liberal Party, not content with trying to fully privatise Telstra, has now privatised its own policy development process and, put it up for sale.

Mr Smith's remarks followed a report in today's Sydney Morning Herald that select information technology and communications industry executives are being asked to pay $7,500 for privileged access to a Liberal Party forum and to Communications and Information Technology Minister Senator Richard Alston.

"No wonder the Howard Government is out of touch, when it is more interested in having the top end of town pay to be involved in its policy development processes than listening to the concerns of the man or woman in the street," Mr Smith said.

"Making privileged access to the Liberal Party's policy development processes excludes any number of Australians with a view about communications and information technology matters who simply cannot afford to make such a contribution.

"It also excludes valuable national institutions, like universities, for whom the payment of a political donation would simply be inappropriate.

"As well, many communications and information technology companies would believe it to be inappropriate to be seen to be siding with one party rather than simply putting their views to all involved in the public policy process.

"And the price tag of $7,500 is just ridiculous. It doesn't cost that much to have a cup of tea with Lynton Crosby or Senator Alston.

"And all this has arisen at a time when Senator Alston is engaged in a secret tour of regional Australia, a tour kept secret to prevent him from having to face up to the opposition to the


full privatisation of Telstra of people living in regional Australia.

"Tomorrow the people of Ryan will be the first to have the opportunity to send the Liberal Party a message that this approach to Government policy development is just not on.

"I hope they will take the opportunity to tell John Howard and his Liberals that it is time they started listening to all Australians.

"Only then will John Howard begin to realise that his policies are hurting Australians," Mr Smith concluded. Back

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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