telstra battle - not over yet !

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    The Federal Opposition says reported comments from a Telstra executive are a sign the company does not intend to maintain regional telecommunications.

    Phil Burgess reportedly said forcing the company to provide services to the bush was unfair and the Government's regulations were turning Telstra into a "loser".

    He says the fact that Telstra has to serve regional Australia when other companies, like its main rival Optus, do not, is unfair.

    Communications Minister Helen Coonan says providing such services is required under Telstra's licensing conditions.

    Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley launched Labor's Telstra campaign in the south-east Queensland city of Bundaberg this morning.

    He says the comments reinforce his position that the company should remain in public hands.

    "Now these fellas were appointed by the majority shareholder - that's the Government - and what they are clearly indicating is what they will do. They do not believe they should be obliged to do anything in regional Australia," he said.

    He says voters need to let National Party politicians know that they do not want Telstra sold.

    "It's not a done deal if people stick to their word. This is the last chance, these next two weeks, to influence the National Party members both in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. If Telstra is sold, it will be because of a great betrayal," he said.

    Federal Nationals' MP Bruce Scott says he is mystified by the suggestions from Mr Burgess.

    Mr Scott says the Nationals will not allow a watering down of the legislation to sell the Government's stake in Telstra.

    "As those legislative documents come forward we're going to be even more determined to make sure they have the teeth and the weight of the law to ensure that Telstra can't duck its responsibilities in the future," he said.
    ABC Online

    Dave R.
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