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Monday, 21 June 2004
Page: 31019


Mrs GALLUS (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs) (6:39 PM) —The member for Griffith in full flight is something indeed to behold. My apologies to those following, as we seem to have in one speech gone well over our full time. During his speech the member referred to, and these are his exact words, `a question I do not quite understand'. May I refer his very own words back to the member and remind him that we are actually looking at the appropriations in detail.

I am glad that the member does not seem to have any problem with the actual appropriations. We have the biggest ever aid budget, which is now at over $2.133 billion. I presume that, having made no comment on it, the member has no problems with it and nor with the way the aid money is distributed. I take his silence as congratulations to this government that we are now in fact providing 0.26 per cent in overseas development assistance. Neither in the DFAT issues have I heard any reference to the money that we will be spending on the biometric passports, so I conclude from this that the member is indeed very happy for us to be spending that money and indeed has no concerns about any of the appropriations at all.

I turn to something of the substance that the honourable member was talking about. He referred quite frequently to estimates and what in his view was a conflict between what was found out in Defence estimates and what was found out in DFAT estimates. I suggest to the member for Griffith that this is not the place to discuss anything that happened in estimates. Perhaps he should have asked his own senators to explore that, because indeed this is an examination of the appropriations in detail. As the member for Griffith and nobody else has raised any other questions and as we are now well over time for our segment, I shall leave it at that and be very glad that everybody is so very happy with our aid budget and indeed our DFAT budget.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Department of Health and Ageing

Proposed expenditure, $3,919,103,000