Labor pledge: no sale of Telstra

Federal Opposition Leader Kim Beazley today pledged the public would retain majority ownership of Telstra if Labor won this year's Federal election.

The opposition leader said there was no financial advantage to fully privatising Telstra and the Government would have more money available if it retained ownership.

He said a fully-privatised Telstra would care more about profits than people.

But Federal Treasurer Peter Costello has dismissed Beazley's commitment, saying Labor had made a similar pledge on the Commonwealth Bank in September, 1993.

Costello said the then Labor Government had promised not to reduce its shareholding in the bank below 50.1 per cent, but reneged on the commitment in the May 1995 budget.

Beazley said the difference between Telstra and the Commonwealth Bank was that all Australians relied on Telstra.

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