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THE COUNTRYMAN

NEWS

 

Selwyn Johnston

INDEPENDENT COMMUNITY REPRESENTATIVES'

ADVOCATE

(Cairns... Far North Queensland)

 

Thank you for visiting my on-line office. 

I appreciate your interest in the issues that effect not only Queenslanders, but all Australians. 

Please let me hear from you about your views on the issues that matter to your Family, your Community and your State.  

Sincerely,

Selwyn Johnston

 

One person, with the support of the community, can make a difference

 

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TELSTRA

        INDEX

 

TELSTRA - THE SELL-OFF

Telstra - Bombshell

Telstra - Facts

TELSTRA BELONGS TO THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE        

 

Rural Queenslanders before Multinational Media


THE VULTURES ARE GATHERING

 

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TELSTRA

THE SELL-OFF

The proposed sale of the remaining 51% of Telstra is yet another example of the Federal Governments' contempt for the Australian people. Every telephone subscriber and user will be effected by the inevitable rise in costs that will follow (including timed local calls).

The most effected will be rural Australians who rely on the telephone as a lifeline to services that city and town dwellers take for granted. The rises in costs, the reduction in services and the inconvenience of weeks for delays in basic maintenance, will see an unequalled downward spiralling of the essential qualities of life for all country families.

As part of the justification for the sale of Telstra, the government cites the 'mums and dads' of Australia will benefit by purchasing shares in the float, but they neglect to point out the real beneficiaries will be the multinational companies who will have the controlling majority.

Successive governments have progressively sold Australian public utilities to rectify government mismanagement and excesses, to the detriment of every Australian man, woman and child. The perception that this wanton sale of public assets is something new, is wrong.

There also appears to be a perception that the sale of Australian public assets by successive governments will cease with the proposed sale of Telstra, not so it emerges.

The keynote address by now retired prominent party politician, Clyde Cameron, to the Victorian Country Conference of the then recently amalgamated Association made up of the former Australian Telecom Employees' Association and Australian Telephone & Phonogram Officers' Association held at the Clyde Cameron College on 28 April 1989, tells the story of party politics. (see - Privatisation) This address delivered in 1989 pre-empted and forewarned of party policy in relation to privatisation of public utilities. This is a 'must read' document which justifies the questions of creditability and manipulation within the political party system.

A simple question in economics would be:

If you have a business earning a PROFIT in excess of $4,500 MILLION a year, and increasing at an unprecedented rate due to technological advances, why would you even contemplate it's sale?

A possible answer:

The banking sector - ALL MULTINATIONALS - seizing yet another opportunity to capitalise on their investment by demanding government payment on borrowing's, reputedly costing the Australian taxpayer an estimated $27 million (PLUS) a day in interest alone. The banks get two bites of the cherry with the sale:

 

  1. Hundreds of millions of dollars in interest payments, PLUS

  2. The goose (Telstra) that lays the golden eggs.

or could it be that...

The proposed sale of Telstra has little or nothing to do with the providing or maintenance of telephone services in rural or regional Australia. It has nothing to do with the reduction of Australia's international debt or the host of other reasons given by the Federal Government.

The Telephony System as we know it, is as old as yesterday's news, in terms of telecommunications.

Telstra provides two ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) services, Microlink and Macrolink, which provide access to Telstra's switched networks. The ISDN is an advanced communications platform providing switched digital communications for a variety of applications on a single network, including voice, data, video and facsimile.

Microlink can be used, with a suitable terminal and equipment, to link telephones, computers, facsimile devices, video conferencing units, printers or multimedia workstations. One Microlink is the equivalent of two (2) analogue lines, plus a signalling channel. It can be used to connect up to eight terminal devices at a single site. Telstra sees ISDN as a vital stepping stone for the move from narrowband to broadband technology.

Telstra has committed more than $300 MILLION to upgrade its network in anticipation of the MASSIVE growth in demand for ISDN services.

Macrolink, as with Microlink, can be used, with a suitable terminal and equipment, to link telephones, computers, facsimile devices, video conferencing units, printers or multimedia workstations. One Macrolink, typically, is the equivalent of thirty (30) analogue lines, plus a signalling channel. It can be used to link PABX's at different locations and similarly link local area networks (LAN's).

In addition to Microlinks and Macrolinks, Telstra is conducting Research and Development (R & D) into the emerging telecommunication technologies of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites, which are touted to replace ISDN in global data communications. These satellite systems would be  in enormous demand commercially, due to there being efficient, economical and high speed.

Telstra is a major world leader in communications and is at the forefront of technology, much to the envy of international competitors.

There is at least one multinational communications conglomerate currently negotiating with the Australian government and Telstra wishing to PURCHASE a minimum of 25% of Telstra. With the governments' attitude on Globalisation, the Multilateral Agreement on Investment and Privatisation, could this be the real reason why they are refusing to back away from the proposed sale of Telstra?

 

ANY FURTHER SALE OF TELSTRA MUST BE STOPPED NOW.

 

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Rural Queenslanders

must come before the

Multinational Media

The decision taken by Telstra to supply and upgrade telephone services to rural Queenslanders by closing the little used Reach Points, is a step in the right direction.

Reach Points, which have the same capacity as 44,000 telephone calls an hour, were being used, at most, 3 percent of their capacity, with some not being used at all for years.

Telstra must remain committed to utilizing this network capacity to provide not only telephone access, but also additional services such as high-speed data delivery for facsimile, Internet and additional lines for rural Queenslanders, and, small business services such as EFTPOS.

Telstra must not jeopardize the quality of life of rural Queenslanders by maintaining Reach Points, used for approximately 12 HOURS a year, for the selfish interests of the multinational media who have the resources to access state of the art satellite equipment.

Rural Queenslanders and all Australians, have a right to access the latest technology that Telstra can provide, after all, they own it!

 

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The Telstra Bombshell

On Friday October 2nd 1998 (the day before the 1998 Federal Election), the Chief Executive of Telstra advised the Federal Minister for Communications, that Telstra had lodged a submission with the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) claiming that the cost of subsidising Australian rural telephone subscribers was in fact... $1,800 million dollars.

The $1,800 MILLION claim is a staggering $1,550 million MORE than the Government's previous estimate of the cost of subsidising rural telephone users.

The Government, having just been returned to office on a platform of providing world-class telephone services to every town, hamlet and farm in rural Australia, the Telstra submission to the ACA has rocked the foundations underlying the Government's promise.

This is a $1,800 MILLION bombshell that will not go away.

Worse still, the Telstra submission opened up a legal 'Pandora's Box' that the Government and other industry players are still struggling to comprehend. All over Australia the eyes of lawyers who specialise in telecommunications and shareholder oppression cases have lit up like a 'Guy Fawkes' night extravaganza.

Given that Telstra has 1.7 million shareholders, the Government's potential liability to class action lawsuits from the minority shareholders are massive.

Shareholders purchased one third of Telstra for $16,000 MILLION, with most being aware that the Telstra share register is the answer to a class-action lawyer's prayers. Should the Telstra directors decisions favour the majority shareholder (the Government) at the expense of the minority shareholders, they would be swamped in a deluge of legal claims alleging breach of directors' duty.

The Telstra saga continues.

 

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TELSTRA - THE FACTS

Regardless of the political rhetoric being espoused by countless politicians of all political persuasions, the proposed sale of Telstra is NOT inevitable. 

Who say's so, you may well ask? Well, a majority of Telstra owners say so… that's who! 

Every Australian who has every paid tax is a joint owner of Telstra, as Telstra is a public asset paid for in full by the sweat of Australian taxpayers. 

Prime Minister John Howard has stated the full sale of Telstra is inevitable, as it (Telstra) cannot remain 'half pregnant'.  

What a derogatory, sexist and anti-women remark. Who forced Telstra into its present condition anyway? 

Yes… the same immoral, elitist, snout-in-the-trough, power crazed politicians who now want to dump Telstra to pay for their other sins. 

These are the same economic clowns who gambled and lost over $4,780 million of Australian taxpayer dollars in 'cross-currency interest rate swaps' during 1997-1998 and 2000-2001. The Australian taxpayer must now pay an additional $300 million a year in interest 'indefinitely', as a result of this illegal gambling sham, which breaches the Federal government's own guidelines. 

Some Telstra Facts: 

Telstra declared an annual profit of $4,600 million for the 2000-2001 period of which $2,200 million was allocated as income tax revenue

No government can guarantee continuity of communication services, as an incumbent government cannot compel future governments, or multinational owners, to honour any promises or guarantees  

Country areas will not benefit from technology advances  

Rural Telstra technicians will be relocated to city areas or retrenched  

The adverse social, business and financial impact on communities where Telstra employee's families are either relocated or retrenched, will be disastrous  

Telstra service charges will increase as a result of travel by city-based technicians

There is absolutely no point in contacting local Members of Parliament, sending petitions or letters of outrage, as lip service or being totally ignored is the normal response. 

The ONLY way of getting politicians attention… of seeing them in fear of losing their POWER and their associated lurks and perks… is in a massive vote against them at the next election. 

If your elected representative does not vote for you, why should you vote for him/her?

 

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v

THE VULTURES ARE GATHERING 

On 15 December 2004 it was reported that Prime Minister Howard was prepared to relax the foreign ownership requirement in the future sale of TELSTRA, whereas currently there is a cap of 35% foreign ownership in the Act under which Telstra is incorporated. 

"You can sometimes get more investment and a better price and greater activity if you allow some greater levels of foreign investment", Mr Howard said.   (Australian Financial Review, 15 December 2004) 

The vultures, naturally, are circling for their cut.  Commissions are immense.  By way of comparison: 

"The T1 sale cost $260 million, including $91.2 million in commission and fees to the three global coordinators, ABN Amro Rothschild, CS First Boston, and JB Were. 

In 1999, T2 came with a bill of about $169 million.  The proposed sale will be at least twice that amount.  The following corporations have had a share of past sales, and will no doubt be eager for easy pickings in Howard's intended sale in the second half of 2005… 

ABN Amro Rothsechild;  Credit Suisse First Boston;   Goldman Sachs;   JB Were;   Macquarie Bank;   Ord Minnett;   Salamon Smith Barney; Warburg Dillon Read;   and UBS.  (AFR, 15/12) 

To make matters worse, the proposed sale will come in an environment of unprecedented turmoil as the American dollar continues its downward slide.  One result will be that, under the recently enacted US Jobs Creation Act, Foreign Investment will be repatriated to America.  The Australian (15 December 2004) predicted that up to $300,000 million invested in Australia could be pulled out and repatriated. 

Foreign investment pulled out of Australia will result in an equivalent spiralling of our Foreign debt, which already stands at $430,000 million and increasing by an average $5 million each hour. 

It hardly needs saying that the Federal government is not acting in the best interests of Australia's taxpayer, but simply taking orders from the 'movers and shakers' in the World money market.

 

 

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Written and Authorised by Selwyn Johnston, Cairns FNQ 4870