NSW Labor divided on power sell-off

July 2, 1997

NSW Labor divided on power sell-off

By Shane Bentley

SYDNEY — A June 26 anti-privatisation rally called by the Labour Council of NSW outside state parliament attracted more than 1000 workers. It was joined by another 2500 workers demonstrating against the federal government's award stripping provisions in the Workplace Relations Act.

Six Labor left ministers in the NSW government have supported backbench moves against Premier Bob Carr's plan to privatise the state's power industry. The ministers are insisting that the ALP state conference should have the final say on the proposed $22 billion NSW electricity privatisation.

Ministers Andrew Refshauge, Pam Allan, Jeff Shaw, Kim Yeadon, Bob Debus and Ernie Page have supported a call by 26 Labor MPs for the sell-off decision to be made by state conference.

The six ministers and 26 backbenchers have stopped short of threatening an unconditional vote against electricity privatisation, an action that would potentially challenge Carr's leadership and lead to expulsion from cabinet.

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