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Monday, 9 December 2002
Page: 7377


Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (1:56 PM) —I think I understand Senator Harris's concerns; however, we do take the view that ultimately the ACCC should not be subject to direction. The provisions that we are canvassing are really a notice in advance requiring the ACCC to have regard to government concerns. That notice is a disallowable instrument but any decision of the ACCC is not. Most decisions of the ACCC can be taken to higher courts or tribunals under ADJR legislation and probably other legislation as well. In that way, I think the system does allow those who are not happy with the ultimate outcome to challenge it in the courts. From the government's point of view, we quite rightly say that we think it is important for the ACCC to be aware in advance of our concerns so that they are not acting in ignorance and so that they can properly have regard to them. That document, as you say, is disallowable.