September 7th 2002


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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: It was right for Australia to be in Vietnam

EDITORIAL: The family: an endangered species

CANBERRA OBSERVED: Self-destructing Democrats: the real winners

COMMENT: Trial by media: the attacks on Archbishop Pell

MIDDLE EAST: Why Bush is unlikely to attack Iraq

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Russian roulette / Thick skins and strong stomachs

FAMILY: Child predators: the untold story

STEM CELL DEBATE: MPs smell a rat over Trounson's stem cell claim

Telstra sale (letter)

An honourable man (letter)

ENVIRONMENT: How now, brown cloud?

POLITICS: Principles and pragmatism: the Democrats' demise

ASIA: Singapore: hard work the key to success

West Papua 40 years on

BOOKS: Cutting Edge Bioethics, edited by John Kilner

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Telstra sale (letter)


by Ken O'Hara

News Weekly, September 7, 2002
Sir,

What oracle has decreed that the rest of Telstra must be sold into private ownership, and that country services are the key to this? What say have we, the populace, had about this?

And haven't we always had the advantage of long distance country tele-communications being subsidised from the public purse, so why not continue this?

Didn't our founding fathers and mothers establish the core public institutions of schools, hospitals, roads, railways, airports and communications, because each of us couldn't possibly provide them individually ourselves, or by small groups alone?

But the oracles now claim that "private ownership is always more efficient than public". Look at One-Tel, HIH, or NRMA Insurance, or at American Enron and WorldCom, or the privatised European telecom companies which are falling over.

And look at what the privately-owned banks have done to country people.

How many know, for example, that the original people-owned Commonwealth Bank loaned for government development purposes, such as the Transcontinental Railway at interest rates of 1 per cent, and how much do privately owned banks charge now?

So it seems that we'd be wise to be on guard against being conned by the silver-tails and silver-talkers on this Telstra issue. For as every farmer and small business person knows, when the farm or the business is lost, that's it!

Ken O'Hara,
Gerringong, NSW




























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