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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 26145

Senator MACKAY (2:20 PM) —My question is to Senator Coonan, the Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts. I refer to the minister's failure yesterday to answer whether the minister or the minister's staff has had any discussions with Richard Alston since she assumed responsibility for the communications portfolio. Given that Richard Alston has other business interests beyond radio and in information technology, I ask the minister again whether she or any of her staff has had any contact whatsoever with Richard Alston in the short time that she has had the portfolio. If so, what was the purpose of that communication? In the interests of transparency and accountability, can the minister please answer this question today?

Senator COONAN (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) —The answer is no.

Government senators interjecting

The PRESIDENT —Order! Senators on my right! If senators were to have a look at a copy of question time yesterday, as I did last night, I do not think they would be very pleased at how it came out.