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Senator Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment

Media Release

Tasmanian Democrats Expose Kernot's Telstra Myth

5 March 1996

Coalition Senate Leader Robert Hill says the Tasmanian Democrats have further undermined Senator Kernot's posturing on the partial sale of Telstra.

The Democrats' Tasmanian Division has issued a statement confirming that the only way Democrat Senator Robert Bell will be returned is by relying on the preferences flowing from surplus Coalition quotas.

The statement exposes yet again the glaring inconsistencies in Senator Kernot's claim to have a mandate to stop the partial Telstra sale.

If Senator Bell is returned, up to four of the six Democrats who win seats at this election would have only done so with the assistance of Coalition preferences.

The Democrat Senators have scraped in on the preferences of voters who had put the Coalition first and in doing so supported the partial Telstra sale.

How can Senator Kernot expect to be taken seriously on Telstra when at the time of making her claims of a mandate only one of her Senators had gained a spot in their own right?

Even Senator Kernot in her own State had not yet gained a full quota in her own right. What does this say about her claim of a mandate?

The Tasmanian Democrats have provided even further conclusive proof that Senator Kernot's Telstra posturing is no longer sustainable.

Senator Kernot should acknowledge that the majority of the Democrat Senators are only there because of Coalition preferences and drop her pretence of a mandate.

As Senator Kernot once said, "the government has a right to govern."

For further information contact Matt Brown on 015 396 773.

Commonwealth of Australia