Telstra sale gets go ahead

Telstra sale gets go ahead

The federal government has received the all clear to sell its majority stake in Telstra after all five sale bills were passed by both houses of federal parliament last week.

The House of Representatives passed the Telstra (Transition to Full Private Ownership) Bill 2005, which enables the government to conduct the sell-down of its majority stake either through a single tranche or several tranches.

Previous attempts by the government to pass laws to sell Telstra have failed because the coalition could not secure a majority in the Senate but it used its numbers in the upper house to pass the bills last week.

The government won support in the Senate for the sale of its remaining 51.8 percent share with $3.1 billion worth of sweeteners for bush telecommunications services.

As part of the deal, $2 billion will be put into a fund to pay for improvements to telecommunications services in the bush, with another $1.1 billion to help roll out hi-tech services.

But Opposition Leader Kim Beazley continued to oppose the sale of Telstra.

"This is a shameless, shameful moment ... as the government bulldozes through the sale of Telstra legislation," he said.

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