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Hypocritical Macdonald attacks show a politically bankrupt government.

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Sue Mackay - Hypocritical Macdonald Attacks Show A Politically Bankrupt Government Thursday, 02 August 2001

Hypocritical Macdonald Attacks Show A Politically Bankrupt Government Sue Mackay - Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government

Media Statement - 1 August 2001

Hypocritical attacks by Queensland Senator Ian Macdonald, the Regional Services, Territories and Local Government Minister, on Labor's track record today are yet another sign of a Government on its last legs, Senator Sue Mackay said in Bowen.

"Senator Macdonald claims that the Coalition is tackling the hard issues in rural and regional areas," said Senator Mackay, Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government.

"Yet he, Peter Lindsay, the Member for Herbert, De-Anne Kelly, the Member for Dawson and Paul Neville, the Member for Hinkler, have all signed up for the full privatisation of Telstra and intend to deregulate Australia Post. That shows how much they care about regional services."

"How can you trust a Government that says it supports regional services, but will jeopardise telecommunication services by selling off Telstra?

"Labor opposed the Government's attempts to buy off Australians with the sale of Telstra for short-term gains, but at the cost of the loss of long-term returns. After three and a half years the Commonwealth is now $475 million worse off as a result of the sale of the first third of Telstra.

"And how can you trust a government that makes hollow claims about postal service guarantees while planning to deregulate Australia Post?

"Australia Post itself said in a Senate Estimates hearing in June that the service guarantee of maintaining 4500 outlets, much trumpeted by the Coalition Government, applies only to the number of outlets. This government has not made any guarantee to maintain the current level of services at Australia Post outlets. In fact, the number of post offices that can offer full services has not increased, but declined during the term of this Government.

"Australia Post also told a Senate hearing that if a Bill introduced by the Government last year to

deregulate some Australia Post services became law, it would have to consider price differentials for some services. The Government has now taken the Bill of the books, in this election year, but still supports it.

"And how can you trust a government that pays lip service to regional services, then in the Budget took $9 million from the struggling Rural Transaction Centre program?"

"Senator Macdonald's comments today about the costing of Labor's policies also conveniently ignore the Charter of Budget Honesty brought in by his own Government after the last election. Under that charter the Treasury Secretary and the Finance Secretary will release a revised set of forward estimates 10 days after the official election campaign begins later this year.

"Any party that puts out costings before then runs the risk of making a series of promises that it subsequently may not be able to afford. Labor, unlike this politically bankrupt Government, does not intend to hide behind a facade of 'core' and 'non-core' promises." Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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