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Friday, 2 December 1983
Page: 3223

Senator GARETH EVANS (Attorney-General)(11.31) —I am indebted to Senator Ray for the gloss on my remarks. I think it should be said that since we are in the business of creating the rules which the Electoral Commission is going to apply, it is reasonable for some request to be made for interpretation, on best available instincts, as to what the particular language before us might be construed to allow the Electoral Commission to so describe. It is in that context and that context only that I have been advancing in my ventriloquist doll fashion the interpretations in question, not because there is any shred of an intention on my part to express some interpretation by which I would want the Electoral Commission to be bound. Even on the matter that Senator Haines raised, for example, in relation to premises, it may well be that an argument could be sustained, on the language of the Act as it now stands, that a notional proportion of expenditure associated with rental for premises is campaign- directed in the same way as a notional proportion of a campaign manager. I think that argument might well be able to be put, but that is one that remains for another day. I believe the basic principle that runs through the language is sufficiently precise in stating the necessity of a nexus with the election campaign itself to be acceptable to the chamber now.