Universal Service?

Telecommunications Policy In Australia and People with Disabilities

By Michael J Bourk

Edited by Tom Worthington.


  1. A tele-typewriter (TTY) is a device that converts keystrokes on a keyboard into tone signals which are transmirtted by electromagnetic energy along standard telephone lines and converted into text by the receiving TTY.
  2. A value-added telecommunications service is a service delivered or accessed by telecommunications means and involves the addition of significant value to the basic switching and transmission functions in the form of information processing, delay or other intervention. They are significant revenue earners and signify an increasing industry annually eg. 1991 -A$700 million; 1994- $750 million (BTCE, No.87, 1995, 62).
  3. Link is a monthly magazine with a national circulation that publishes issues of interest to people with disabilites
  4. In 1975, houshold penetration was 62%. This figure had climbed to 80% by 1982. Current levels are 96.4% (Wilson & Goggin, 1993; Standard Telephone Service Review, 1996, 29).
  5. Telecommunications Act 1975 section 6(1)
  6. See Section (6(1))Telecommunications Act (1975)
  7. When historically identified between 1975 and 1992 Telecom is used; afterwhich Telstra is.
  8. Yeatman also observes the bridge-building power of the Commonwealth State Disability Agreement (1991) between the Federal and State Governments:
    The CSDA was the first new agreement between the Commonwealth and the States in the context of new federalism. In many ways it represented a demonstration of political goodwill and cooperation -an important precursor to the subsequent negotiations which were anticipated to promote micro-economic reform in relation to interstate commerce (Yeatman, 1996, 19).
  9. eg. professional or business groups with more self-interested motivations (see Abbott, 1996)
  10. DPI(A)'s National Secretariat dissolved in 1995 following financial difficulties; but continues as a voluntary organisation without Government funding.
  11. Named after the Handicapped Persons Assistance Act (1974) from which most disability services received their authority (Lindsay, 1996)
  12. Further integration would continue in 1994 with its replacement by the Australian Disability Consultative Council whose members were appointed by Ministers from various portfolios (Lindsay, 1996, 16)
  13. In 1995 the councils were renamed the Telstra Consumer Council (TCC) and Telstra Regional Councils (TRCCs).
  14. The corporationsí trading name Telecom changed to AOTC in 1992. AOTC was created out of a merger between the local national carrier Telecom and OTC, Australiaís international telecommunications corporation. However TACC, TRCC and Telecom Disability Services consultative committees were not changed until the advent of Telstra in July 1995. At this time all Telecom logos were changed to Telstra.
  15. Vodafone commenced operation as a public mobile telecommunications carrier in 1993. The charge against the carrier was later dropped by AAD due to a limited customer take-up.

Further Information

Draft of 11 October 1999. Comments and Corrections Welcome
Copyright © Michael J Bourk & Tom Worthington 1999.