[ASC-media] Media Release: Telstra ¹ s Privatisation Myths

Australasian Science science at control.com.au
Wed Apr 28 23:46:51 EST 2004

29 April 2004
For immediate release

Telstra¹s Privatisation Myths

The government¹s push to sell the publicly-owned half of Telstra is based on
³myths about the inefficiency of public enterprise and the boon of
government debt reduction².

Professor Sharon Beder of the University of Wollongong¹s Department of
Social Sciences, Media and Communication writes in the May edition of
Australasian Science magazine that the evidence that private enterprise is
superior to government enterprise ³is not compelling².

For example, public provision of electricity in the United States is often
more efficient and has been consistently cheaper over the past century than
private enterprises operating in the same market.

Prof Beder says the argument that competition makes private enterprise more
efficient already applies to Telstra as ³many of Telstra¹s services are
already subject to competition and the rigours of the marketplace².

Prof Beder says that the push to privatise Telstra is being orchestrated by:

· the government because the promise of a ³short-term influx of capitalŠ can
help government to win the next election²;

· ³consultants [who] have made millions of dollars from privatisation²; and

· multinationals that ³are pushing to extend the General Agreement on Trade
in Services (GATS) to public services such as telecommunications² as this
³would facilitate market access for foreign service providers².

Prof Beder, who is author of Power Play: The Fight for Control of the
World¹s Electricity (Scribe Publications, 2003), writes that the
privatisation of electricity elsewhere in the world ³has led to wild price
fluctuations, a decline in service standards, blackouts, electricity
rationing and the formation of giant multinational electricity firms that
are able to blackmail governments and withhold supply for their own
commercial ends. 

³If Australia fully privatises Telstra it will be exposing another essential
service to similar risks.²
Please cite AUSTRALASIAN SCIENCE MAGAZINE as the source of this story.

Prof Sharon Beder on (02) 4471 2849
The full article can be downloaded as a PDF at www.control.com.au
For permission to reproduce the full text (563 words) call the Editor, Guy
Nolch, on (03) 9500 0015. A photo of Prof Beder is available on request.

Guy Nolch
Editor, Australasian Science
Box 2155 Wattletree Rd PO
VIC 3145 Australia
Phone 61-3-9500 0015
Fax 61-3-9500 0255
Web www.control.com.au

More information about the ASC-media mailing list