Telstra sell-off plan arises from the flames

16 Jun 2003

Australia’s Federal Government is expected to resurrect plans to privatise the country’s state-controlled incumbent Telstra [TLS.AX], despite recent vehement Labour Party opposition in Senate to block the coalition government’s reforms. Proposals to sell the state’s 50.1% holding, which are due later this week, look set to spark fresh protests however, even though the deputy prime minister John Anderson recently completed a major telecoms package to improve regional coverage – seen as a necessary precondition to convince his National Party colleagues to endorse the AUD35 billion sale of Telstra.

Telstra has experienced some torrid times in recent months. In May, Australian unions threatened an industrial campaign against the PTO after it revealed it could cut 3,000 jobs in the next financial year. Workers believe that the company is putting profits before customer service and the welfare of workers and are outraged at the possibility of further cuts. In the same month Telstra commissioned a report to investigate what it perceives as a hostile attitude from the country’s opposition Labour Party. Telstra has clashed with the party on numerous occasions and recently threatened to sue Labour’s communications spokesman over comments made about the telco.