Family First candidate an ex-IT salesman

The man who may control the balance of power in the Senate, Family First candidate Steven Fielding, has a blue-chip IT and telecommunications background.

The Victorian Senate candidate has government, opposition and minor parties biting their nails over who will control the final Senate seat that could determine the fate of the full sale of Telstra.

According to details provided on the Family First Web site, Fielding has spent most of his working life as a marketing executive for blue-chip IT companies.

"After completing his engineering degree in 1983 he entered the corporate world of Hewlett-Packard... Steve later moved into executive marketing roles with NEC and Siemens, and completed his Master of Business Administration specializing in finance and marketing in 1992 at Monash University.

"Later that year he was recruited to New Zealand to take up an executive role with Telecom NZ. He returned to Australia in 1995 and is employed by one of Victoria's largest superannuation funds, as a general manager," a brief biography of Fielding claims.

Should Fielding succeed in gaining the deciding vote of the upper house, his background may provide for some interesting debate on privatizing Telstra.

Family First party leader Andrea Mason is yet to clarify how the new force in Australian politics will vote on the sale of Telstra should it succeed in gaining the balance of power; however, she has previously expressed some opposition on the basis it may not be in the interests of Australian families.

The party has also advocated heavy filtering of Internet content at ISP level to control sexual or violent content and the introduction of a levy on Internet users to cover the cost of such filtering.

Calls to Family First's offices were greeted by a recorded message saying no media comment would be given until the election result was finalized.

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More about Hewlett-Packard AustraliaMonash UniversityMonash UniversityNECSiemensTelstra Corporation

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