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ESTIMATES COMMITTEE A
DEPARTMENT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET
Program 3--Special policy and program functions
Subprogram 3.1--Multicultural affairs
- Committee Name
ESTIMATES COMMITTEE A
DEPARTMENT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET
Program 3--Special policy and program functions
Senator Gareth Evans
- Sub program
Subprogram 3.1--Multicultural affairs
- System Id
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ESTIMATES COMMITTEE A
(SENATE-Friday, 3 September 1993)
- Start of Business
DEPARTMENT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE
- Program 1--International relations, trade and business liaison
- Program 2--Passport and consular services
- Program 3--Services for Other Agencies
- Program 4--Secure government communications and security services
- Program 5--Executive and DFAT corporate services
Program 6--Development co-operation
- Subprogram 6.1--Country programs
- Subprogram 6.2--Global programs
- Subprogram 6.3--AIDAB corporate services
- Subprogram 6.4--Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research
DEPARTMENT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET
- Program 3--Special policy and program functions
- Program 1--Departmental policy co-ordination
- Program 2--Government support services
Program 3--Special policy and program functions
- Subprogram 3.1--Multicultural affairs
- Subprogram 3.3--Science and technology policy
- Subprogram 6.1--Australian Science and Technology Council
- Subprogram 3.4--Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs
- Program 4--Corporate services
- Program 7--Public administration and accountability
- Program 8--Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs
- ABORIGINAL AND TORRES STRAIT ISLANDER COMMISSION
Content WindowESTIMATES COMMITTEE A - 03/09/1993 - DEPARTMENT OF THE PRIME MINISTER AND CABINET - Program 3--Special policy and program functions - Subprogram 3.1--Multicultural affairs
Senator SHORT --I wonder whether you could explain to the committee the relationship between the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs, and the essential differences between the roles of the two.
Mr Edwards --The functions are different. I do not want to answer too much for what the department is and does, but the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs is responsible for the migration and settlement programs. The responsibility of the Office of Multicultural Affairs relates to policies and programs to address and manage the continuing multicultural diversity of Australia. Accordingly, the Office of Multicultural Affairs has direct responsibilities for such policy areas as access and equity--to ensure that all government programs are delivered to all Australians regardless of their backgrounds. We have responsibilities for ensuring that the economic benefit of diversity in the Australian population is drawn attention to. We have special responsibilities in regard to such other matters as community relations, and primarily they are in a coordinating manner. Those responsibilities are distinct responsibilities of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.
Senator SHORT --DIEA is the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs. What is the difference between ethnic affairs and multicultural affairs?
Mr Edwards --Again, I do not want to be talking too much about the detail of what the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs does; I do not think it is proper for me to do so. But, the significant difference from our point of view is that multicultural policies and programs deal with the broad diversity of the Australian population. It is very much part and parcel of focusing upon Australian society as a multiculture in general--that is to say, that there is diversity across all elements of the society--rather than dealing with specifically ethnic organisations or just specifically settlement related issues.
Senator SHORT --Would you say that ethnic affairs would be commonly understood as relating to just settlement issues?
Mr Edwards --Again, I have some difficulties in as much as essentially I would be describing the programs of another department. But, that said, it is significant that the ethnic affairs function in the immigration department is included with the settlement function. I am somewhat cautious about going too far down that track in describing too much the function of that department.
Senator SHORT --I suppose I am really trying to get at the public perception. I wonder whether it would be clear to people what the difference is between ethnic affairs and multicultural affairs. I am not sure that it is absolutely clear to everyone in this room, including me. I am really trying to get at where you people who are at the coalface see the differentiation in terminology. It might sound a small matter, but I think terminology is important.
Mr Edwards --We would not disagree, but I go back to what I began with: the responsibility for multicultural affairs is a responsibility for the continuing and broad diversity of Australia, recognising that Australia is a diverse society as a whole rather than dealing specifically only with ethnic organisations or individual ethnic community issues. That is the basis of the distinction.
Senator SHORT --I notice that your funds are being cut this year from $5.2 million to $4.8 million but at the same time your staff years are increasing by close to 10 per cent, from 41 to 45. What is the basis for those figures? Would you explain that?
Mr Edwards --During 1992-93, the last financial year, the office was heavily engaged in some major projects which drew upon large, in our terms, program funds. These projects related to the access and equity evaluation which was completed in 1992 and to the community relations strategy work which was substantively completed during 1992 and 1993. Accordingly, the call on program funds is not as great in 1993-94.
At the same time, the government has decided that it wants to look closely at some significant policy issues in the multicultural affairs area, and there has been an increase primarily to address those policy concerns. As we move towards greater cost recovery under the bilingual consultants network, we have also sought to increase the staff support to the bilingual consultants network. It is important to note that the salaries for those staff would be covered by cost recovery under a section 35 arrangement with the Department of Finance.
Senator SHORT --What proportion of cost recovery is that?
Mr Edwards --We are estimating that in 1993-94 we can get full cost recovery for the operations of the bilingual consultants network, including payment of the individual bilingual consultants on their sessional basis and training and support for the management of the network across the country. The only other call on the funds for the bilingual consultants network will be in some promotion. We will not be able to cover all of that, but the running costs of the network will be fully covered.
Senator SHORT --What was the cost recovery ratio in the year just concluded?
Mr Edwards --I cannot give you a percentage. One of my colleagues might be able to. You will see from the program performance statements that in gross terms last year the bilingual consultants network brought in $183,000 or thereabouts. This year we are expecting $305,000.
Mr Rabl --The money that Mr Edwards is referring to is the total of the cost recovery funds under a number of section 35 agreements with the office. They are not all from the bilingual consultants network.
Senator SHORT --How much of that is from the bilingual consultants network?
Mr Edwards --The vast majority, I think.
Mr Rabl --I have that figure. Just over $110,000 of that was for the bilingual consultants network.
Senator SHORT --Of the 1992-93 figure?
Mr Rabl --Yes.
Senator SHORT --What are you estimating of the figure for 1993-94?
Mr Rabl --A very similar percentage. I do not have the exact figures in front of me.
Senator SHORT --What was the cost of the bilingual consultants network last year?
Mr Rabl --It would be better if I took that question on notice because it involves a more complicated answer than might appear.
Senator SHORT --I wonder if you could explain to the committee how OMA actually initiates and develops contact with the ethnic communities on behalf of the government?
Mr Edwards --There are a number of ways; there are a number of levels. First of all, there is direct contact by the office, both within Canberra and from Canberra and through the regional coordinator network which the office has throughout Australia in every capital city. Typically, OMA officers meet with community organisations on a regular basis, and the regional coordinators would probably meet with individuals and groups from the community several times each day.
Secondly, the office runs the bilingual consultants network, which enables the government to draw on community views around Australia through a focus group technique. Thirdly, the office is in contact with the major ethnic community organisations--in particular, the Federation of Ethnic Community Councils, with which we maintain a continuing dialogue--and the individual state ethnic communities councils on particular issues. As well, the office is in contact with particular community organisations, some of which are not ethnic community organisations as such but are business organisations and the like.
Senator SHORT --The BCN has something like 600 members--
Mr Rabl --Around 650 bilingual consultants.
Senator SHORT --How does one become a member of that network?
Mr Rabl --They were recruited through a public advertising campaign some 12 months ago. They are contracted for the period ending December this year. At the moment, they are recruited on a needs basis, depending on language and geographical considerations.
Senator SHORT --What is their purpose?
Mr Rabl --They are the people who conduct the focus group discussions in the community language that the client requires.
Senator SHORT --Who would the clients be?
Mr Rabl --They vary. There are Commonwealth agencies, state government agencies; we have had some local government and private sector interest.
Senator SHORT --If a government agency comes to you wanting to know what the Lebanese community thinks about subject X, you then go through the network in order to have group discussions with the Lebanese community? Is that roughly how it works?
Mr Rabl --In a very shorthand way, yes.
Mr Edwards --We would charge that agency in most cases, although in some cases we would see the need to subsidise it ourselves.
Senator SHORT --Do you have any particular criteria for members of the network?
Mr Rabl --Yes, they must be bilingual and bicultural and, where possible, have the kinds of skills that are needed for conducting focus group discussions, and they must be able to write adequately in English.
Mr Edwards --In addition, once we have recruited them, we train them to conduct focus group discussions in an objective and effective way and then render what has happened into a report.
Senator SHORT --Do you seek information on political party membership of persons seeking to be members of the network?
Mr Rabl --No.
Senator SHORT --Do you have any information on the political party membership, if any?
Mr Rabl --No.
Mr Edwards --We have not asked.
Senator SHORT --I notice from a briefing note that you kindly gave me a little earlier that OMA was then finalising the implementation of the government's community relations strategy. What are the main details of that strategy and where does it stand at the moment?
Mr Edwards --The community relations strategy was a three-year program which lasted into 1992-93. It was a program to encourage and to experiment in good community relations practice which would be a standard and a lesson for community relations around the country. It had a number of components. One component was run through the Office of Multicultural Affairs, as a program manager. The Office of Multicultural Affairs ran two components in that program, one with the states on a cooperative basis, matching dollar for dollar, in programs which dealt with everything from police community relations through to community relations issues in the schoolyard. There was also a community initiatives grants program--a one-off grants program--which provided funds to community groups to experiment in community relations activities which would show how to overcome alienation, conflict between groups. That was the OMA component.
Another component involved the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission and that part of the program dealt primarily with issues of racism, but also with issues of police community relations. Another component was run through the Office of Local Government, which encouraged local governments throughout Australia to improve community relations, to work on communication with communities which might otherwise be excluded or might otherwise have not understood the way local government processes work. A final component was run through the Aboriginal and Torres Islander Commission. All together, those components made up a $4.7 million program--if I got the figure right--over those three years.
Senator SHORT --What is the outcome of that? Does the government now have a strategy? Was that not the objective--to develop a strategy at the end of it?
Mr Edwards --The object was to test as many different kinds of strategies that could be tested around Australia, to deal with all sorts of issues. The program as a whole has only now just been evaluated in total and the evaluation report is in final editing and will be presented to the government very soon. Once government has considered that report, it may make some decisions about community relations programs and policies in general. But I could not anticipate, in this context, what they would be, except to say that they would be informed by all the lessons of what had gone on.
Senator SHORT --Will that report be made public at all?
Mr Edwards --We will be putting the report to the government very soon. Obviously that is for the government to decide, but the government's expectation would be that it would be published.
Senator SHORT --When do you expect to put it to the government?
Mr Edwards --Very soon, essentially; it is just in final editing now. I cannot give you any more details on what very soon means--
Senator SHORT --You are in the final edit stage?
Mr Edwards --Yes.
Senator SHORT --Did you say that the community initiatives grants program had been going for three years or was that the one-off program for one year?
Mr Edwards --The community initiatives grants program got fully under way during 1991 and was completed during 1992-93. Activities under the program were generally about 12 months in length, not three years.
Senator SHORT --How did you evaluate who was to receive grant funding?
Mr Edwards --First of all, there was a public advertisement for submissions. That public advertisement laid out the kinds of criteria that community organisations would address, such as ways of dealing with harmonious community relations. There were some 400 submissions received in 1991. Against the series of criteria, which I could provide to the committee if it wishes, an advisory body went through all of the submissions and made selections which it recommended at the time to the assisting minister. That advisory body comprised community representatives, people from industry, unions and officials from OMA.
Senator SHORT --Who made the final decision?
Mr Edwards --The then Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Multicultural Affairs.
Senator SHORT --Who was that?
Mr Edwards --Minister Hand.
Senator SHORT --Was he given details on all of the grants? Did you short-list them? What happened?
Mr Edwards --We are going back nearly two years now. My recollection is that we put to the minister both a list of all of the submissions received as well as the recommendations from the advisory panel. If I am incorrect there, I will get back to you, but I am pretty certain that was the case.
Senator SHORT --With the grants that you made in 1992-93 which are contained in the attachments to the annual report of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, how do you decide on which grants you are going to provide in that more general category? It is very mixed bag. For example, there is one for the Collingwood Community Health Centre in Collingwood where my office happens to be located. How would that centre have been funded? What would be the basis for that background?
Mr Edwards --That particular grant was made under the community initiatives grants program of which we were just speaking. The payment was the payment during 1992-93.
Senator SHORT --You are right. They are the details of the payments to projects initially funded. So they were all chosen by the minister? He would have chosen the grant to the Metal Trades Federation of Unions in Western Australia and a range of others. I notice that there was a grant to the World Conference on Religion and Peace.
Senator KEMP --What sums are involved?
Senator SHORT --That one was $7,920; the Metal Trades Federation of Unions in Western Australia was $3,023. They range around that area. There are a range of them, including ethnic council funding and so on. As someone first looking at it, some of them look pretty odd. One would question just how in the end a decision was taken to make those grants. I wonder whether you could throw any light on it. Your answer to that is that it was the minister's decision?
Mr Edwards --Yes, but the minister took recommendations from an advisory body. In turn, those recommendations were based upon criteria for projects which would constitute good experiments in community relations. In turn, they were selected by the advisory body.
Senator SHORT --I guess some people would feel that there is an inherent problem--potentially at least--in an organisation having a role such as yours and at the same time basically having a very large influence over who receives funding and who does not in some of these areas. I guess that we have all had experience--particularly us politicians--of conflicts arising within various ethnic communities where one organisation within a community gets funding and another one does not. I get many complaints of that causing divisiveness within the community. They are not isolated cases, by any means. Do you have a view on that?
Mr Edwards --In most cases, the Office of Multicultural Affairs does not have the kind of general community grants program that leads to those sorts of issues. A single exception is the community initiatives grants program under the community relations strategy, which was very much a specific program addressing specific criteria.
The grants made by OMA are grants in pursuit of particular program or policy objects which the government has identified as being necessary in multicultural affairs. Indeed, that means that a grant would be made on the basis of an organisation proposing something which assisted one of those major elements, such as access and equity. Quite simply, there are not that many grants made to community organisations for those kinds of purposes. So the issue really has not arisen to that extent.
Senator SHORT --I have a couple of questions about FECCA, for which you provide the core funding. The figure for this year is about the same as last year. I notice in FECCA's 1992 annual report, which is very recent, that there is a figure of $13,606 which is what is called a special grant expenses refund. Do you know anything about that? In particular, was that refund paid by the government? It appears that it was.
Mr Edwards --I would have to take that on notice, I think. I cannot recall the reference in the FECCA annual report.
Senator SHORT --It is almost the bottom line of the accounts. FECCA had a net deficit last year of $13,045. It received a special grant expenses refund of $13,606, which therefore put it marginally--$560--into surplus, so it looks as though it was almost a funding item for the deficit. Is that correct, or is there some other explanation?
Mr Edwards --First of all, that is in FECCA's annual report and not OMA's. At this moment I cannot say what that refers to. If it relates at all to any of the funding that went through OMA, then I will provide advice to that effect, but it does not ring bells.
Senator SHORT --Take it on notice, please. If in fact it is an additional grant by the government to fund the FECCA deficit, I want to ask whether that is customary. This relates to my next question: is FECCA required to acquit its grant to OMA, and in what detail?
Mr Edwards --Yes, it is, by way of its annual report which in turn we put to the government.
Senator SHORT --Do you evaluate the annual report?
Mr Edwards --Yes.
Senator SHORT --Do you make recommendations to the government in the budget process each year as to FECCA funding, as to what the size of the funding should be? How is the amount determined?
Mr Edwards --It is determined by the government, and obviously the government takes advice from OMA on the basis of OMA's consideration of the FECCA annual report, but I would not want to go too far down the track on the nature of that advice, of course.
Senator SHORT --FECCA is almost entirely dependent on government funding for its wherewithal, is it not?
Mr Edwards --FECCA receives that core grant to which you referred. FECCA is also on occasion in receipt of funds for particular projects on behalf of particular government agencies. But it is fair to say that FECCA's primary funding does come from government.
Senator SHORT --I think FECCA is obviously an important organisation, and it should be seen as an independent organisation. It has a very important role to play. I wonder whether you have a view as to whether an agency, which is virtually 100 per cent dependent on government for its funding, runs the risk of being compromised, or perceived as being compromised, in the views it might express on issues?
Mr Edwards --I do not want to be too coy about this, but I do wonder whether my views about FECCA, or the views of the Office of Multicultural Affairs about FECCA, are closer to policy consideration.
Senator Gareth Evans --I think that is a fair comment.
Senator SHORT --I can understand your coyness. It is an important question because the confidence that the general community and, particularly the ethnic communities, have in FECCA as an independent spokesman is critically important, I think. I wonder whether you, as the senior executive of the organisation which provides the funding to FECCA and which probably sees more of FECCA and has a closer relationship with FECCA than anyone else in Australia would have a view on that matter?
Senator Gareth Evans --The officer may well have a view, but I do not think it is reasonable to ask him for it.
Senator SHORT --I am not asking a policy question.
Senator Gareth Evans --It is clearly a matter of judgment and sensitivity and with political implications, and it should be understood as such. It is inappropriate to require the officer to answer that.
Senator SHORT --I wonder whether you have a view, minister?
Senator Gareth Evans --No, I would not have a view. I have only rarely dealt with the organisation. If I did, I would not share it with you.
Senator KEMP --You said you did not have a view.
Mr EVANS --I do not, but if I did I would not explain it. I want to make it clear for the record.
Senator SHORT --Am I right in my understanding that OMA approached FECCA last year to provide the Prime Minister with a speaking opportunity at a function in August of last year?
Mr Edwards --No. FECCA and the Ethnic Communities Council of New South Wales had earlier extended an invitation to the Prime Minister. It was communicated back to FECCA that the Prime Minister would accept that invitation. In a sense, because we are the communication channel, we were involved in passing that information back. It was really in response to that earlier invitation.
Senator SHORT --In the end it came together in just a very few days, did it not?
Mr Edwards --You are testing my memory. Not really. The invitation was of a couple of months standing and there had been some discussions along the way as to when would be an appropriate time for the Prime Minister to attend.
Senator SHORT --In the end did the appropriate time not turn out to be something like 72 hours hence?
Mr Edwards --No, it was definitely longer than that.
Senator SHORT --How much longer? I wonder if you could check.
Mr Edwards --Certainly.
Senator SHORT --Can you tell me who attended the dinner?
Mr Edwards --I do not have a guest list and I am not certain that the office had a guest list. There was widespread representation from ethnic community organisations, ethnic leaders and people who would not be described as ethnics from the state of New South Wales.
Senator SHORT --Could you just check your files to see whether you do have a guest list? If you do not, would you mind approaching FECCA to get the guest list? Did OMA make any suggestion as to who would be invited to that dinner?
Mr Edwards --The inviter was the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils of Australia and the Ethnic Communities Council of New South Wales. The answer is no.
Senator SHORT --So OMA had no input at all into the names of possible invitees?
Mr Edwards --Not directly.
Senator SHORT --What about indirectly?
Mr Edwards --There were some conversations between me, other officers of OMA and the FECCA executive. Those conversations were more in the nature of our responding to its questions. In turn it got in contact directly with the Prime Minister's office. We did not direct traffic in that respect at all.
Senator SHORT --Do you know whether 90 per cent of those attending the dinner were public servants? Could you check that figure? You might wish to take it on notice.
Mr Edwards --I will take it on notice. I doubt it very much.
Senator SHORT --You might be right, but we will check it. Can you tell me why no members of the coalition were invited to the dinner?
Mr Edwards --No.
Senator SHORT --You have no knowledge at all as to why no members of the coalition were invited?
Senator Gareth Evans --I do not think the officer should be required to answer that. It is not a matter of fact, it is a question of motivation. It is not his own organisation. It is a non-government body.
Senator SHORT --Who paid for the dinner?
Mr Edwards --The federation, but individuals who went to the dinner were charged. It was held in a restaurant in Sydney.
Senator SHORT --There was no contribution from either OMA or any other government department or agency?
Mr Edwards --None from OMA and none that I am aware of from any other organisation either.
Senator SHORT --In the first three months of 1993, were any undertakings given to FECCA concerning future funding?
Mr Edwards --By whom?
Senator SHORT --Either by OMA, I presume, or by members of the government who would have responsibility in that area? It could be the Prime Minister or whoever is assisting the Prime Minister. I would presume they would be the most likely ones.
Mr Edwards --The federation, FECCA, was seeking consideration of its four-year funding for 1993-94 and beyond. But as far as I am aware, there were no undertakings given apart from the fact that the government would consider its request. It was an undertaking only to consider the request.
Senator SHORT --In terms of any arrangements that are eventually made between the government and FECCA on funding--it comes out of your budget--I presume the communications and the correspondence would be between OMA and FECCA, would it?
Mr Edwards --In some instances, but when it gets to matters of decision, the correspondence would be at ministerial level. We would deal with the detail technicalities at officer level.
Senator SHORT --Through you, Mr Chairman, I ask Mr Edwards to have a look at what written material he may be able to provide to the committee on any exchange of correspondence or communication there was between his office or OMA and FECCA in the first three months of this year on any questions of future funding.
CHAIRMAN --Do the officers agree to consider that?
Mr Edwards --Yes, we will consider that. I am not quite concern what would be involved in that. All sorts of issues relating to confidentiality of correspondence might arise.
Senator SHORT --Yes. You will need to have look at that. It was announced recently that at the moment a review is being undertaken of the funding arrangements for FECCA. It is being done by a consultant. Who is the consultant?
Mr Edwards --The minister announced the review of the Commonwealth's consultation function in multicultural affairs. Primarily, that is through FECCA but, as I mentioned earlier, there are a number of other means by which the government consults with the community. So it is not quite right to say that it is a review of the FECCA funding alone. That said, the consultant is a private consultant, Rick Yamine and Associates and they are working with a member of Morgan and Banks, Mr Norman Hoffmann.
Senator SHORT --How was that consultant chosen?
Mr Edwards --By selective tender.
Senator SHORT --Selected tender?
Mr Edwards --Essentially, the office wrote to a number of potential consultants who would know about government funding issues and community consultation issues. That tender was the most competitive and was successful.
Senator SHORT --How much is the consultancy costing?
Mr Edwards --Twenty-seven thousand dollars.
Senator SHORT --Could you let me have a list of the consultants or firms that were written to? I do not want their tender results, but could you let me know which ones you did write to?
Mr Edwards --Again, it is subject to advice as to the commercial appropriateness of that, but I do not have any policy problems with it.
Senator SHORT --Tendering is one of the most sensitive of all government operations, and normally it is not a matter of confidentiality as to who was approached to tender, I would think. Why have a consultant at all? Why cannot OMA itself conduct this operation?
Mr Edwards --As is usually the case with engaging consultants, there are a number of reasons. The first is that it is simply a question of the internal resource to make available for the task. It is more efficient and more cost effective to engage a consultant for a short period to do a particular task. The second reason has to do with the particular sets of skills of the consultants that we were seeking which were not available in the office. It was important that the consultant be independent of the Office of Multicultural Affairs as well.
Senator SHORT --I would like to come back to the FECCA dinner which I was referring to before. My understanding is that OMA made the arrangements for the dinner. Is that correct?
Mr Edwards --No.
Senator SHORT --It was publicly said at the time by my predecessor. Was that ever refuted if, in fact, it is incorrect?
Mr Edwards --I cannot recall whether there was any public refutation of that, but it was not the case, Senator.
Senator SHORT --Is it a fact that the Prime Minister's speech at the dinner was billed in advance as a major public statement on immigration, ethnic affairs and multicultural matters?
Mr Edwards --Again, you are essentially asking me to comment on my memory of what the Federation of Ethnic Communities Council and the ethnic communities of New South Wales did. That recollection is necessarily faulty because it was not what OMA was doing. I really cannot confirm that or say much more about it. I do not know what they were saying.
Senator SHORT --You are going to look at a couple of aspects, and you have taken some on notice. Could you have another look? I think it is important from the point of view of FECCA itself. In terms of research done by OMA, how do you determine your research program, in that sense, regardless of whether it is done in-house or by consultants?
Mr Edwards --First of all I should say that we do not conduct research as such in-house particularly. We work on research. Whereas in previous years--going back some years--OMA had a distinctive research program in which it advertised for tenders for items of research, more recently the office has sought tenderers for specific areas of research to address specific policy objectives. For example, the largest element of research during 1992-93 related to research for the access and equity evaluation. Much of the research that was commissioned during that year was for those purposes. Similarly, research that is now being commissioned relates very much to the issue of equity to be addressed in the annual report on access and equity this year and, as well, relates to the government's productive diversity agenda--the economic agenda. So, therefore, there is much research related to trade issues, to labour market issues and the like.
Senator SHORT --Do you recall this publication, produced, and I presume paid for, by OMA? It is called The Shared Table: ideas for Australian cuisine and is written by Michael Symons. I think it was launched three or four months ago. The chapters are headed, `Car cuisine: a catalogue of corporate catastrophes', `Reclaiming the streets', `Kaleidoscope cooking', `Authentic eating: in search of "Australian cuisine"', `Cooking with all the senses--Gabriel Gate', `The essential ingredient', `What should we eat? A gastronomic geography', `Don't dine alone!', `To eat with joy . . . `, and `Cinderella economics'. Could you explain to us how you feel that that publication demonstrates the economic benefits of cultural diversity?
Mr Edwards --In one sense we will find out by looking at its sales. This was an instance in which we commissioned a piece with the purpose of having a relatively large measure of cost recovery built into it to test the point. It is on sale commercially through AGPS. At the moment, it is selling well. Out of the 2,500 copies initially printed, around 1,000 have been sold. It has been on the market for a couple of months. Secondly, over the years, there have been some views that the multicultural contribution to Australia has been a relatively trivial one in cultural terms; that it has been, as the cliche goes, just pizza and polka.
This publication and this project set out to address the point that for the tourism industry domestically within Australia and the restaurant industry around Australia the contribution has been quite serious and quite significant. It is not simply a skin-deep phenomenon. That was the purpose of the exercise. We will find out whether it succeeds so far as the book is purchased and people take the themes up and recognise that there is a real economic issue here.
Senator SHORT --Of the 1,000 copies that have been purchased--I am pleased to hear that--would you know how many have been bought by private individuals or organisations and how many by government departments and the like?
Mr Edwards --The short answer to that question is that I do not know because it is being sold through AGPS. I am not certain that I could ever know, or that AGPS would know, if people came in and bought them off the street. It would be my expectation that it would primarily be private individuals rather than government departments.
Senator SHORT --I do not suppose there is any way of testing it. You cannot test that.
Mr Edwards --I am not sure whether AGPS could either.
Senator SHORT --Yes, I am not sure either. It is a matter for another time. How much was the all-up cost of that publication?
Mr Edwards --I think you have a question on notice about that. The total cost of production was $51,000 for all all-up costs; that is, gross costs prior to cost recovery. The components of that $51,000 were: $19,450 to the writer; $32,063 for printing and publication, of which OMA met $17,000; and for each copy sold OMA will get $2.99 1/2c for each copy--in other words, 10 per cent of the cost. In addition, AGPS is carrying a large measure of the cost, which it does not normally do, because it believes that it is a commercial proposition and it is treating it that way.
Senator KEMP --A report was recently done into the ethnic composition of the defence forces, among other things. There was a recommendation in that report that Scottish regalia and dress should, wherever practical, be removed from certain regiments. I wonder whether your office has had a chance to consider that report and whether any advice has been given.
Mr Edwards --The short answer is no.
Senator KEMP --Is it the type of report which would come to your office for comment?
Mr Edwards --Sometimes, yes. Essentially, the government's multicultural policies apply to all departments and those departments in large measure get on with that themselves. We were aware of the commissioning of the work but have not seen the report.
Senator KEMP --I hope that, as someone who treasures his Scottish background, you will use the usual philosophy in these cases if you are asked for your advice.