In Federal Parliament today, several bills will be introduced that will enable the final full sale of Telstra. This is perhaps one of the biggest cases of a Pandora's Box ever to be opened in Australian corporate history.
To put this into perspective, Telstra had received 14.3 million fault calls in 2004. More than 14 per cent of all telephone lines have known faults. With the need to replace obsolete or non-vendor-supported equipment, the ageing of the workforce, lack of training for new workers (Have they trained you Prawn??) and IT systems not capable of handling the volumes this can only get worse under private management.
In official reports released, the company says $2bn - $3bn in additional investment in operating and capital expenditure should have been spent over the past 3-5 years. Telstra shares have collapsed since Mr Trujillo joined the company in July, driven lower by the escalating battle with the Government and a string of negative comments that culminated in Monday's warning of a 7 to 10 per cent fall in full-year profits.
What did the Goverment have to say about this? "I think it is the obligation of senior executives of Telstra to talk up the company's interest, not to talk them down." PM John Howard told Parliament. Well I'm sorry Mr Howard but people have a right to know the truth. Three kinds of people precisely:
1. Taxpayers who will now have their telco stolen from them without consent.
2. Customers who have to deal with increasing dis-and-mis service of maladroit phone lines.
3. Prospective shareholders who are to be sold a pup.
As an economist you should have seen this, it's because you are a farty trumped-up little smeghead who's more concerned with worshipping the great god Dollar than using common-sense that you haven't got.
More to follow in this series.