||Issue No. 277||19 August 2005|
Interview: On Holiday
Unions: One Day Longer
Industrial: Never Mind the Bollocks
Politics: Spun Out
Economics: If the Grog Don't Get You ....
History: Taking a Stand
International: The Split
Legal: Pushing the Friendship
Poetry: Simple Subtractions
Review: Sydney Trashed
The Locker Room
Think of the Kids
Stand Your Ground
Donde Esta Las Dialtone?
You gotta hand it to the latest carpetbagger to stroll in from headquarters with dollar signs in his eyes.
Sol Trujillo isn't your average Johnny come lately set to take advantage of the Howard Government's Not Nailed Down policy.
No, Sol and his happy band of Amigos, are just the sort of fun loving guys with an instinctive empathy for the needs of a disparate national infrastructure imposed on a nation the size of the continental United States, with about 8% of the population.
Now most people would think that, given the dynamics of the infrastructure are so different, radically different approaches would be needed to ensure an adequate level of service was maintained across the network.
Unfortunately this assumes two things:
Firstly, that Telstra is about service delivery for customers. Secondly, that Telstra is a telecommunications network.
It is best understood by familiarising oneself with the following three principles when discussing the appropriate ownership of Telstra or telecommunications infrastructure with anyone within a treasurer' handshake's distance from our humble Telstra CEO.
1. Telstra is a bloody great pile of cash for a desperate pork-barrelling government.
2. Telstra is a bloody great pile of cash for a desperate pork-barrelling government.
3. Telstra is a bloody great pile of cash for a desperate pork-barrelling government.
Afterwards, check you still have your wallet and watch.
No wonder they had to find a used phone salesman from Amarillo to execute this detailed policy.
In order to understand the mind of a man who looks suspiciously familiar, we need to understand that Sol knows a lot about milking dosh out of Telcos, and bugger all about the Realpolitik of telephone services in this country.
The man is either barking mad, or just nuts, to suggest that Telstra, who have shown all the corporate responsibility of a category five cyclone, should be less regulated than it is.
What does he want next? For Telstra to be freed from its shackles and be allowed to enter people's homes armed with nothing but a shotgun and a sports bag.
You wouldn't trust the senior management of Telstra with a baby's rattle, and it is into this milieu that Sol fits nicely.
Sol, who is never seen in the same place at the same time as Saddam Hussain, is now charged with the organised theft that is privatisation.
It's a bit harder this time round, as some people got a good identikit of the guy wearing the balaclava during the T2 sale, and he looked remarkably like Peter Costello, so jovial Sol was ushered in as the new front of house guy for selling the Australian public the ideological equivalent of a steaming pile of rotten fish guts.
The buffoon's buffoon took to his task with an alacrity not seen since Gerald Ford tripped down the steps of the White House on Inauguration Day.
This is the genius that has worked out that it is imperative that the half-public carrier spends $100 million in order to sack 1,000 workers.
This, at a time when there is apparently no money in the till to get a standard broadband service a few kilometres from the GPO of any capital city you'd care to mention.
Then, while rifling through some old lady's purse, Sol declares that this is all about focussing on the customer.
The absurdity of the situation was highlighted when a hapless Trujillo started to throw his weight around only to get king hit by some likely lad from western Queensland called Barnaby.
Since then Barnaby has done the triple backflip with pike, taken the cloth and joined Sol at the great altar of the free market, and now we will all now live happily ever after just so long as we don't need a dialtone.
In years to come when people ask how did Australia end up with a third world infrastructure, the beaming face of the thinking person's Cheech Marin, Sol Trujillo, will come flooding back to haunt us.
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