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Kim Beazley's Telstra lies.

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Kim Beazley's Telstra lies Mr Beazley's deception in relation to his daughter's hospital treatment are part of a general pattern by the Leader of the Opposition, particularly in relation to his repeated lies about Telstra over the last few months.

Even Labor's so-called Telstra pledge itself contains a big lie. It states that "commonsense tell[s] you that" under a privatised Telstra "services will suffer.

The fact is services are protected regardless of Telstra's ownership. The USO guarantees a standard phone service to all Australians regardless of Telstra's ownership. The Customer Service Guarantee ensures that all Australians get their phones installed or fixed on time or receive compensation - again totally regardless of Telstra's ownership.

Mr Beazley has repeated this deliberate untruth in personal letters he has been sending out in marginal electorates. The letters state that "selling Telstra" would mean that "phone services will suffer". The fact is that phone services are regulated by laws that apply regardless of who owns Telstra.

On 11 August, Mr Beazley told the media at the ALP Tasmanian State Conference that "if Telstra was privatised" "there'd be no constraints at all on the costs that Telstra could impose on the rest of the community". Again a deliberate untruth. Mr Beazley knows that the price controls on Telstra apply totally regardless of Telstra's ownership.

And of course there is Mr Beazley's biggest untruth of them all - that a Labor Government would never sell Telstra.

The Australian public well remembers that, before the 1990 election, the Hawke/Beazley Government swore blind to the Commonwealth Bank Officers Association that it would not sell any of the Bank, and then after the election, it sold 50% of it.

And then in the legal shareholder prospectus to sell the Bank down to 50.1%, the then Finance Minister Mr Willis stated "The Government has no intentions whatever of further reducing its shareholding." And when Mr Beazley was asked on Business Sunday in May 1994 "do you have to sell off more of the Commonwealth Bank to cover the $2 billion hole", he said "No, that wouldn't be our intention to do that."

Lo and behold when Mr Beazley was Finance Minister and directly responsible for privatisation in 1995, the Labor Government announced it was selling the rest of the Bank.

If Labor can tear up a legal shareholder prospectus, Mr Beazley's Telstra pledge is not worth the paper it is written on and he is clearly unfit to lead Australia.

Media contact: Sasha Grebe, Minister's office, 02 6277 7480 Website:

189/01 22 August 2001

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