Another case of do what we say, not what we do. A little lurk that Telstra and the bush’s major lobby group, the National Farmers’ Federation don’t want you to know about, brought into the sunlight at a Senate inquiry into the Telco in Canberra on Monday. Rival Telco, AAPT, part of New Zealand’s Telecom Corporation revealed that Telstra gives NFF members a 6% discount on their phone bills as part of a so-called “affinity program”.

That’s not available to ordinary consumers. Here’s a report from the Senate hearing. You never hear the National Party letting on about that nice discount in all its whingeing about poor Telstra services in the bush. You could argue that the discount to NFF members is a way of Telstra “buying” influence.

I wonder how many National Party members are NFF members (including members of the various parliaments) and get these handy cuts to their phone bills? And with Telstra chairman Donald McGauchie being a former heavy in the NFF back in the waterfront dispute days in 1998, does he still retain membership of the organisation, and does he also get the discount from the company he chairs?

A Telstra spokesman named other organisations involved in “affinity” programs as the Australian Medical Association, Restaurant and Catering Australia, the Queensland branch of the Master Builders Association and the Real Estate Institute of Western Australia.

Nice for some!

Peter Fray

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