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Tuesday, 6 June 1989
Page: 3401

Senator ALSTON(11.30) —I am indebted to the Minister for that explanation, but it raises more questions than it answers.

Senator Gareth Evans —No.

Senator ALSTON —It is the Minister's fault because as he has directed my attention to the fact that it is relevant only to clause 47, I find it extraordinary that one can seriously suggest that there might be sufficient technological developments occurring over the next two years to warrant a change by way of regulations. After all, if we are to take the Government at face value, the first phone monopoly is to be reviewed. That is what the May statement said. I have no doubt that the unions will not allow that in due course. But on the face of it, that clause is a commitment to review. If that is the case, how can one possibly suggest that there could be a need in the next two years to change that basic definition when it could simply be done in the course of the review and, subsequently, in the course of amending that section. Does the Minister contemplate anything at the moment?

Senator Gareth Evans —No.

Senator ALSTON —Is he seriously suggesting that there will be such technological developments over the next two years that we cannot await the outcome of that review which has, as I recall, to take place at least six months before 30 June 1991?