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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 this morning.

"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 people.''

He described Australia as like "stepping back in time'', and having "restrictive'' immigration policies.

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 Australia 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 Australia 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 Trujillo's "amigos''.

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 the US.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,25540439-601,00.html