The Australian Greens have reaffirmed their opposition to any further privatisation of Telstra.
The decision dashes any hopes the government may have had over the past two days following Senator Bob Brown’s suggestion that he would be prepared to trade support for Telstra privatisation in exchange for a halt to land clearing the logging of old growth forests.
Brown now says he made an error of judgement because of his enthusiasm for the environment.
At the party’s National Council meeting today, the following motion was carried unanimously:
The Australian Greens reconfirm our opposition to the privatisation of public utilities including Telstra.
Funding for environmental programs is a core activity of Government and therefore must not be contingent on the sale of public assets but should instead be funded from ongoing general revenue.
There was a brisk debate relating to Bob Brown’s proposal that the issue of logging forests and woodlands be considered in relation to Telstra. Senator Brown said his action had come out of his personal passion against the record rate of destruction of forests, woodlands and wildlife in Australia. He supported the motion on Telstra unanimously passed by the Council.
The Greens share Senator Brown’s frustration at the appalling destruction of Australia’s old growth and High Conservation Value forests and the record rate of native vegetation clearance being undertaken with the approval of the Federal Government and State and Federal Labor. The Greens are also staunch opponents of the privatisation of public utilities.
The Greens note that Senator Brown has not said that he would vote for the sale of Telstra but would, as always, be guided by the party’s view.
Neither Bob nor Senator elect Kerry Nettle or any other Green MP will vote for the further sale of Telstra.