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Monday, 5 June 1989
Page: 3364


Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade)(9.34) —The words are wide, but they are obviously qualified by the requirement that they involve the use of resources that are not immediately required in carrying out Telecom's principal or subsidiary function. In those circumstances, a very stiff and high hurdle to jump, there is a limitation on Telecom Australia embarking on some frolic of its own. Surely Senator Alston is not suggesting that it would be better for resources to stand by idle, unutilised, not generating returns for Telecom and the community, simply in pursuit of some ideological will-o'-the-wisp to which he has a passionate attachment. I would not think for a moment that Senator Alston would have any such approach. I am sure that, properly understood and appropriately interpreted and applied by the courts, as undoubtedly this Bill will be, if Telecom seeks to go outside its obviously intended limited mandate it will not in any way amount to the kind of open-ended extravaganza that he is postulating. I commend the recommendation accordingly.