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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 171

Senator Bob Brown asked the Special Minister of State, upon notice, on 12 November 2008:

In regard to the answer to question on notice No. 741 (Senate Official Hansard, 10 November 2008, p. 6489), concerning the investigation by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) into the legality of the disclosure and other matters relating to electoral donations made by the Exclusive Brethren during the 2004 federal election: what were the ‘legitimate business transactions’ identified by the AFP in the last sentence of the answer.

Senator Faulkner (Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary) —The answer to the honourable senator’s question is as follows:

The phrase “legitimate business transactions” does not appear in the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 (Electoral Act), and therefore neither I as the Minister responsible for the administration of the Electoral Act nor the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is in a position to provide an answer to this question. As the phrase was used by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in its letter to the AEC, its interpretation and scope can only be provided by the AFP.