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Thursday, 24 May 2001
Page: 27060

Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (4:58 PM) —Very briefly, I just want to reiterate that the motion before the House deals with the redevelopment of the Army Aviation Centre, Oakey, Queensland, and not matters of wider Army policy. I will, however, undertake to the honourable member to refer his comments to the Minister assisting the Minister for Defence and, if the minister thinks fit, no doubt he will contact the honourable member with respect to the matters he raises. The honourable member also mentioned that there ought to be more debates on defence in the House. The forms of the House do provide private members with the opportunity to raise motions on relevant matters. If defence is—as it clearly is—a matter of concern to the honourable member for Chifley, then perhaps he should take greater advantage of the forms of the House which are currently available to him.

He also referred to the matter of the work of the committee. The committee of course has quite wide powers of investigation and, when it has an inquiry, the government is required to refer expenditure of levels above $6 million to the committee for consideration and report. My experience of the committee is that it does a very thoughtful and careful job, and it usually reports in a bipartisan manner. I invite the honourable member to make a contribution to the work of that committee in relation to the matters he sought to raise—inappropriately, in my view—during the debate on the motion before the chamber.

Question resolved in the affirmative.