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Wednesday, 26 May 2004
Page: 29301

Mr Murphy asked the Minister representing the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 1 April 2004:

(1) Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the article by Megan Saunders in The Australian on 31 March 2004 titled `Abbott offers olive branch to Turnbull' which reported that Mr Turnbull was about to embark on his own political fundraising venture that would pump money into marginal seats in New South Wales and that the proceeds raised from a fundraising dinner organised by Mr Tony Abbott would be split by Mr Abbott and Mr Turnbull.

(2) Will he inquire of the Australian Electoral Commission whether such arrangements conflict with the Electoral Commissioner's reporting requirements; if not, why not.

Mr Abbott (Minister for Health and Ageing) —The Special Minister of State has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) Yes.

(2) As the Australian Electoral Commission is an independent statutory authority, the Special Minister of State does not interfere in the way it conducts its inquiries.