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Wednesday, 16 October 2002
Page: 5336

Senator ALSTON (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (6:42 PM) —As I am not familiar with the Suncorp Metway case I obviously cannot draw on it. From what I hear and from what I am advised, that case is very much at the far end of the spectrum. If you regard that as a classic example of improper influence then this proposed section is designed to pick up every degree of influence and to appropriately disregard matters where you would not expect a minimal level of influence to be significant. If the provision of services or costs and expenses involved round-the-world trips every couple of months then you would say, `Is something going on here?' If it involved a taxi fare on one occasion you would say, `That is an act of occasional generosity.' You simply need to have a provision that allows that judgment to be made in each instance. If the Suncorp Metway case is an egregious example then clearly that is one that is going to be ruled out by applying that test.

The CHAIRMAN —Order! I draw the attention of the chamber to the presence of former Senator Crowley, who has joined us in the advisers box. Welcome, former Senator Crowley.