The Guardian March 15, 2000


Editorial:
A Government of liars

Sometimes the statements of government leaders can be passed off as 
propaganda or merely expressions of opinion but these hardly cover many of 
the statements of the Howard Government.

Readers will recall the assertions of some years ago about Howard being 
"honest John". This could be passed off as propaganda but his statements 
that "no worker will be worse off" and that the "GST would never, ever be 
introduced" hardly fall into that category.

His statements of concern about reconciliation with the Aboriginal people 
made at the time of his Government's re-election in 1998 have not been 
borne out by subsequent events. ATSIC's funding has been cut back 
substantially and some aspects of its authority have been taken out of its 
control and administration entirely with control given to Howard Government 
Ministers  Herron and Wooldridge (see The Guardian March 8).

Now we have the statement of Communications Minister Richard Alston that 
the sacking of thousands of technicians by Telstra, "need not" result in 
any loss of services to the bush (what about the cities and towns?). This 
is nothing more than a dishonest cover-up of what Telstra management is 
doing.

The claim that the Government, as the majority shareholder of Telstra, 
cannot do anything about these sackings is another lie. Of course the 
Government's representatives on the Board of Telstra could instruct the 
Board to do what it is told.

The fact is that the Howard Government is hell-bent on the total 
privatisation of Telstra, but in circumstances where it knows that it 
cannot get privatisation legislation passed in the Senate it is quite 
prepared to see Telstra dismembered by way of contracting out and other 
means so as to give its private enterprise opponents maximum opportunity to 
pick up the pieces.

Telstra's CEO, Ziggy Switkowski and others on the Telstra board, who also 
make it clear that they want to privatise Telstra completely, are out to 
sabotage this prize piece of public property if they cannot clear the way 
to have it privatised.

It's a disgusting scenario. These people are no less than traitors to 
Australia's national interests which can only be defined as the interests 
of the majority of the people, the majority being opposed to the 
privatisation of Telstra.

The big corporations, mostly foreign, which are out to grab the whole of 
Telstra do not care a fig for the interests of the Australian people. Their 
interest is about profits for shareholders.

They make it clear that this is their priority responsibility, not the 
needs of the Australian people. Community interests used to be enshrined in 
the charters of publicly owned services such as Telstra, Australia Post, 
and the Commonwealth Bank. But that has all but vanished as a result of 
corporatisation and privatisation by both Coalition and ALP Governments.

The lead story in this issue of The Guardian is a call by the 
Central Committee of the Communist Party for a big campaign to defeat and 
force the repeal of the GST. The GST is a key element in the overall 
economic rationalist policies of the big corporations and the servile 
politicians who willingly do their bidding.

The GST could be defeated. There is widespread opposition and disquiet 
about the consequences of its introduction. And here is yet another total 
lie of the Howard Government: the claim that it is a "fairer" tax.

It will not be long before we all feel the GST picking our pockets, 
stealing our hard-come-by  and in many instances meagre  disposable 
income. It is already happening with substantial price rises taking place 
in supermarkets and shops. They are putting up prices now to recoup the 
millions of dollars of compliance costs they already have had to spend, 
even before the GST actually hits on July 1.

As the Party statement says, together it is possible to throw out the GST. 
It all depends on whether YOU are prepared to do something about it now and 
in the immediate future. Later will be too late!
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