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Thursday, 28 June 2018
Page: 4292

Senator SESELJA (Australian Capital TerritoryAssistant Minister for Science, Jobs and Innovation) (11:43): There are a number of elements to that question, including a sort of political statement about the Prime Minister which I won't engage with you on. You've asked me a number of questions. Firstly: is there an implied freedom of political communication? When I studied law many years ago at the ANU, we did study a number of cases which went to those matters. I wouldn't claim to be an expert on those matters but, of course, the High Court has in a number of cases found an implied freedom of political communication.

The subsequent part of your question relates to whether it is arguable. I accept that some people have made the argument, but it is an argument that the government does not accept. It is a situation which the government has considered very carefully, taking extensive advice. There will always be some who disagree. Some of those experts who have been quoted in the past are no doubt eminent experts and I'm not questioning their qualifications, but they've also been on the public record predicting what the High Court might do and, in many cases, they've been wrong.

An honourable senator interjecting

Senator SESELJA: Well, they've made an argument. You're saying, 'Is it arguable?' I'm saying there are some people who've made the argument. The government has taken extensive advice. The government does not agree with that argument—we reject it. And we absolutely believe it complies with all elements of the Constitution.

Progress reported.