How tight is the Liberal Party’s hold over
Telstra? Tighter than we previously thought, it seems, with the news
that another key Liberal Party adviser and strategist also works as an
adviser for the telco.

The AFR’s Chanticleer column
disclosed today that Jon Gaul has been advising Telstra chairman Donald
McGauchie, although those duties are being wound down. Gaul has worked
on numerous campaigns and with the Liberal Party between elections.

company, Canberra Liaison, was part of the government’s advisers and
strategists in the campaign against the Maritime Workers Union of
Australia in the 1998 waterfront dispute. McGauchie was a key part of
that argument with the National Farmers Federation.

McGauchie, of course, has John Short, another former journalist (Gaul was at the Canberra Times
years ago), Liberal Party worker, ministerial adviser and corporate PR
spinner. Short is raking in $400,000 a year from Telstra, according to
disclosures at a recent Senate Estimates hearing. Perhaps Gaul is being
wound down to pay for Short?

Meanwhile another old,
well-connected Melbourne adviser has managed to finally make it on to
the Telstra privatisation gravy train (for the T3 sale). Carnegie,
Wylie, an adviser to the T1 and T2 sales, has been brought on board to help Merrills with the sale process.

Carnegie, Wylie was part of the group responsible for the over-priced
T2 sale that continued to dog Telstra with small investors – and as
Christine Lacey reports in today’sSMH, you should “never play musical chairs with investment banker John Wylie.”