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Thursday, 18 June 2009
Page: 6623


Mr BOWEN (Minister for Financial Services, Superannuation and Corporate Law and Minister for Human Services) (11:03 AM) —Fair shake of the sauce bottle! The shadow Assistant Treasurer has now asked this question four times and I am going to answer it the same way. Can I say to the shadow Assistant Treasurer that while I am loath to point out the internal inconsistencies in his argument he leaves me with no choice. He pointed out five or six minutes ago that this discussion paper was issued on the last working day that I was the Assistant Treasurer. That is what he said, and I think he may be right but I am not 100 per cent sure—


Mr Anthony Smith —You remember that!


Mr BOWEN —It was either the last working day or the second last working day, but his point is correct. I think he is probably right in saying that it was the last working day—the Friday; a lot was happening on that Friday. So he pointed out that this discussion paper was released on the last working day on which I was the Assistant Treasurer. And now he asks whether there was any feedback to me in the time that I was Assistant Treasurer on the impact that this discussion paper—


Mr Anthony Smith interjecting


Mr BOWEN —No, that was exactly the question the honourable member asked: was there any feedback to me, in the time that I was the Assistant Treasurer, that this discussion paper had resulted in firms lifting their moratorium. The problem with the honourable member’s equation is that, as he has pointed out, this discussion paper was issued on the last day that I was Assistant Treasurer. So, therefore, no, no feedback was received by me in the time that I was Assistant Treasurer, because the discussion paper was issued on a working day about three or four hours before I ceased to be the Assistant Treasurer of Australia.