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Friday, 11 October 1985
Page: 1084

Senator PETER BAUME(12.35) —The Opposition supports this legislation. It makes a number of changes which display good common sense with which we wish to be associated. These changes are six in number. The first change allows Telecom Australia and the Overseas Telecommunications Commission to enter into hedging and financial futures contracts in accordance with ministerial guidelines. That makes sense. The second change enables Australia Post, Telecom and the OTC to lease property for periods longer than 10 years without ministerial approval provided the lease cost does not exceed a prescribed threshold. That makes sense. The third change imposes a duty on Telecom to ensure its facilities are not used for illegal purposes. This amendment flows out of the findings in the report of the Vincent Review of Allegations Against Telecom that some Telecom employees had been involved in SP betting operations. That certainly makes sense. The fourth change brings the relevant disclosure of interest provisions in the Overseas Telecommunications Act, The Telecommunications Act and the Postal Services Act into line with the disclosure of interest provisions applying to members of other statutory bodies. Surely that makes sense?

The fifth change amends the Overseas Telecommunications Act to allow persons over 65 years of age to be appointed and to hold office as commissioners, except as managing director. The Opposition supports that. The final change provides for the licensing of recently developed systems in the infra-red spectrum and the Opposition supports that. We believe that these changes will allow Telecom, Australia Post and OTC to operate more efficiently and effectively and we wish the Bill a speedy passage.