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Wednesday, 25 June 2003
Page: 12470

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (12:36 PM) —From recollection, the ABC is treated much more favourably when it comes to some other areas of complaints. If you want to have an across-the-board approach—

Senator ALSTON —No; the ABC has always fought vigorously against having the commercial complaints regime applied to it. If you want to go down that path, I think you will find that you get a lot of push back from the ABC. It regards itself as being in a special position on a lot of this stuff. I do not have a problem, in principle, with a lot of these things being applied across the board, but in this instance you ought to identify the problem you are trying to solve. If the problem is 34 breaches and you have one particular program in mind, let us have a look at how we deal with it. But just saying `I've found a figure of 34 somewhere—I haven't bothered to analyse it, so I can't tell you how serious any of those breaches were; but I now have a solution that is dramatically more interventionist than the current regime' does not seem to me to be a good basis for policy making. If you want me to go away and compare the ABC and the commercial television stations in a range of areas, I would be happy to do it.