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Thursday, 10 March 2005
Page: 23

Senator COONAN (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (11:15 AM) —First, I express my appreciation to my colleague Senator Abetz for continuing with the carriage of the committee and I apologise to my colleagues for being unable to be here to hear all of the debate. Indeed, I just caught the end of Senator Ludwig’s question. But, as I understand it—and I will be corrected if I am wrong—there has not been a formal report of the ABA since 2001.

Senator Ludwig —That’s the point, Minister.

Senator COONAN —Yes, there has not been one, but we will give consideration to how we think it should best be monitored. I am not going to be giving commitments here, but I will acknowledge that there can be some advantages to making the process perhaps more public and more transparent. It is difficult, but we take on board the issues relating to the operation of the scheme. We have said that obviously we will keep a very close eye on it. Just how formal you really want to make it is obviously a matter for debate. For the purposes of today, I would say and put on record that we will be keeping a very close eye on it.

Question agreed to.

Bill, as amended, agreed to.

Bill reported with amendments; report adopted.