September 09, 2005 | Graham

Barnaby’s just looking for an excuse

You can tell that Barnaby Joyce has only agreed to the selling of Telstra under extreme pressure. Give him half an excuse and he will look to back-out. Once more he’s on the news with his concerns about selling Telstra:

I am not trying to be melodramatic but I am backing away a bit because there is new information. And any person could tell you this information is not encouraging.

The new information is that 14% of Telstra’s lines are faulty, that it has under-invested to the tune of $3B in recent years, and that it has borrowed to pay dividends.
So what more proof does Joyce need that governments aren’t good at running Telcos?
As an accountant he ought to also realise that financially, in terms of a sale, these facts are, if anything, neutral. They don’t so much affect the sale decision, but the price that buyers might be willing to pay. The choice is whether the government spends money to fix Telstra up, and maximise the price, but at the cost of that money, or whether they put it on the market “as is where is” at a lower price and leave it up to investors to stump up the readies. Either option is possible under the legislation that Joyce has agreed to support.
A clue into Joyce’s motivations was contained in a fascinating profile of him on Radio National’s Breakfast this morning (audio file not up yet). I didn’t realise it, but he’s a strong Roman Catholic, and one of the strongest forces for communitarianism in Australia is Catholic Social Justice teaching. Joyce might be representing a party that claims to be free enterprise, but he himself nurses some deep doubts about the virtues of that system.
Barnaby also has his fans. In researching this post I came across So far in its life it’s only had 367 visitors, but as it rates that well in Google, it will get more.
The Barnaby revolution is only just beginning.

Posted by Graham at 10:14 am | Comments (2) |
Filed under: Australian Politics


  1. From what I’ve read of the Senate Hansard, Fielding is more Labor-aligned than Liberal and if Joyce continues to rebel then the Telstra legislation will be blocked. On the other hand, if Joyce did not rebel, the government could rubber stamp any and all legislation.

    Comment by Vee — September 9, 2005 @ 7:07 pm

  2. Notice that Barnaby believed howard and coonan until he read the small print.Here we have what some could call a deceitful couple,howard&coonan, who deserve each other. Didn’t coonan and partner try to dodge paying land tax or rates on one of their properties on the northern beaches of Sydney some time back? What’s her title in Parliament? is it “the honourable?”
    Barnaby woke up to being conned and diddled – YES! I know it wasn’t nor could it have been ‘honest john’s fault – now perhaps the Australian electorate will wake up next. numbat

    Comment by R. Patterson — September 12, 2005 @ 1:30 pm

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