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Thursday, 26 November 1998
Page: 792

Mr McMULLAN —My question is to the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, in light of the documents tabled in the Northern Territory Legislative Assembly this morning concerning the improper conduct of Liberal Party pollster Mark Textor, can you guarantee that none of the taxpayer funded focus group research conducted prior to the last federal election was used by the Liberal Party for election purposes?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —I have not seen any of the documents tabled in the Northern Territory parliament. I certainly do know Mr Textor, and I think you know him as well. Mr Textor has been a very competent and a very effective pollster for the Liberal Party of Australia. He is also, like any other person in that area, entitled to do other work.

Any casual thumbing through the research records of the Hawke and Keating governments would find with stunning rapidity the company called ANOP, which of course was a very competent polling organisation owned and run by Mr Rod Cameron, for whose polling expertise I had a considerable personal regard. It also had a large amount of government work in those days.

Mr McMullan —Mr Speaker, on a point of order: the question was deliberately seeking a guarantee from the Prime Minister and he has not referred to the question nor to the guarantee which I sought.

Mr SPEAKER —I invite the Prime Minister to come back to the question.

Mr HOWARD —Having sort of prepared the ground, I say to those who sit opposite that I am advised that total propriety has been observed by this government in relation to those matters.