The Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer has disclosed that the Australian government contributed $A12,023 ($US9,150) towards the costs of a five-day speaking tour by the conservative Canadian commentator Mark Steyn. In response to a question from Opposition Shadow Minister for Finance Lindsay Tanner, Downer explained that Steyn was funded under a program that "targets senior foreign journalists and editorial staff with the capacity to influence editorial content and/or generate informed international media coverage of Australia." Steyn's tour was co-sponsored by two free-market think tanks, the Institute of Public Affairs and the Center for Independent Studies. Steyn also spoke at an event for The Conservative, a quarterly magazine aimed at fostering debate within the Liberal Party of Australia.
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