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Thursday, 24 March 2011
Page: 1868

Senator CONROY (Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity) (9:43 AM) —Thank you. I know this has been something dear to Senator Xenophon’s heart and I appreciate that he has a very consistent view and that he has tortured himself, as any good Greek likes to do occasionally. We reached what I think is a fair compromise to allow all the sorts of information. Can I just concur with Senator Ludlam, in that I had the misfortune in my university days to take an entire unit called cost-benefit analysis, so I have studied the methodologies involved.

Senator Fifield —Where did you go?

Senator CONROY —ANU. It was a very reputable degree; some would even call it a reputable right-wing economics degree.

Senator Ryan interjecting—

Senator CONROY —They were known as Friedmanites in my day, I tell you!

I0Q Ryan, Sen Scott 0Senator Ryan interjecting—

Senator CONROY —That is probably true! But I would have to concur with what Senator Ludlam has said. Ultimately, to get a cost-benefit analysis number, you have to make a number of assumptions. And, as much as economics like to pretend that it is value-free; it is the values that underpin those assumptions, or how they are disguised when you insert your own personal values into those debates. So I am very much across—

Senator Birmingham interjecting—

Senator CONROY —If I could just for a moment, given that I have been fairly busy this morning and have not had a chance to say hello to my daughter, Isabella, who is tragically being made to watch me on A-PAC, say hello to Isabella! I think Senator Ludlam’s comments more than summed it up.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Hutchins)—The question is that opposition amendments (1) and (2) on sheet 7055 be agreed to.

Question negatived.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —We will now move to Greens amendment (1) on sheet 7062 standing in the name of Senator Ludlam.