Trujillo's rant is nothing more than sour grapes, says Victorian
Premier John Brumby
By Staff Reporters
The Australian (WSJ)
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
After slipping out of Australia ahead of his June 30 resignation
date and just days after boasting of his achievements at Telstra
at a conference in San Diego, Mr Trujillo told the BBC that
being in Australia was like "stepping back in time''.
In the BBC interview, the American claimed Australians were
racist, including Kevin Rudd, who greeted news of Mr Trujillo's
departure with the word, "adios''.
"Many Australians have come up to me and they've apologised,
because they're embarrassed by that kind of behaviour,'' Mr
Trujillo, who talks proudly of his Hispanic heritage, told the
BBC in the interview, parts of which were played on ABC radio
"I think by definition (it was racism) -- there were even
columnists who wrote stories that said it was.
"But my point is that does exist and it's got to change because
the world is full of a lot of people and most economies have to
take advantage -- including Australia -- of a diverse set of
as like "stepping back in time'', and having "restrictive''
But Mr Brumby said he did not accept Mr Trujillo's comments.
"I think there was a bit of sour grapes in them actually,'' he
said. "He's an example, he came here from overseas and he
had a great job, he was awarded that job, there was no
discrimination or prejudice against him. I don't know what
he's talking about frankly.''
However, Opposition communications spokesman Nick Minchin seized
on Mr Trujillo's comments to accuse Mr Rudd of being
contemptuous, rude and inappropriate.
“The regular references, by a variety of commentators, to Mr
Trujillo’s Mexican background during his tenure in
were quite rude and uncalled for,” Senator Minchin said.
“In particular, the Prime Minister’s ‘adios’ remark upon Mr
Trujillo’s departure was contemptuous, rude, sneering and
entirely inappropriate for an Australian Prime Minister.
“In contrast, Senator Conroy was much more generous about Mr
Trujillo’s contribution to
in his remarks at last week’s ATUG conference and set a far
higher standard than Mr Rudd’s base remark.”
Telstra shares performed woefully during Mr Trujillo's four-year
reign. From the day of his appointment in mid-2005 to his
departure this month -- before the end of his five-year
"transformation'' plan -- Telstra shares underperformed the
wider market by about 20 per cent.
During his time in
Australia, media commentators
and cartoonists repeatedly made reference to Mr Trujillo's
Hispanic background. The gang of American executives he
recruited to work at Telstra, who have all returned to the US, were referred to as Mr
But Mr Brumby insisted people from all walks of life were
accepted and welcomed into Victoria,
where Telstra is based, and Australia.
"I couldn't agree with his comments at all. Our country is
the multicultural capital of the world. In our state we've
got 44 per cent of our population born overseas, or one of their
parents overseas. We are the land of opportunity.''
A spokeswoman for Mr Rudd told the ABC that Mr Trujillo's
statements were "ridiculous comments which will disappoint
Australians who welcomed him to this country".
David Thodey has replaced Mr Trujillo as chief executive.
Since leaving Australia,
Mr Trujillo has popped up on the executive circuit hustings in