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Monday, December 17, 2007

Minister out and off the hook following change of government

One result of a change of government, is that those who have lost office no longer need to explain discrepancies in what they had to say when they were calling the tune.

Senator Helen Coonan, former Minister for Communications, won't have to tell us how it was that government advertising for the NetAlert campaign said that a survey had shown that more than half of 11-15 year olds who chatted online were contacted by strangers, when the survey, now released in full, shows that only 14% chatted or messaged "a mixture of people including strangers". The inflated figure emerged from including 'friends of friends' and anyone (even those who parents approved) who they had not met in the physical world, as 'strangers'.

Peter Mares of ABC Radio National's "The National Interest" pursued this issue with Senator Coonan on-air, followed up the request using Freedom of Information, and finally was able to access the survey - conveniently (for Senator Coonan at least), just a few days after the election.

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