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Wednesday, 16 October 2002
Page: 5335


Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (6:37 PM) —By giving those two opposite extremes, Senator Nettle is simply making the point that this is a matter of degree. The commission therefore has to take into account the individual circumstances in making a judgment about the degree of influence. Clearly, if the provision of costs and expenses is so significant that it effectively provides control or influence then you would say that was improper and that it is not an independent free body. If it is minimal support—a cup of tea and biscuits—then you would presumably say that it is at the other end of the scale and therefore you would not think there was any improper influence. The clause is designed to allow maximum flexibility to make judgments right across the spectrum.