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Thursday, 22 March 2012
Page: 4026


Mr LAURIE FERGUSON (Werriwa) (15:30): I wish to make a personal explanation.

The SPEAKER: Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?

Mr LAURIE FERGUSON: Yes.

The SPEAKER: The honourable member may proceed.

Mr LAURIE FERGUSON: It has been reported in the media that as the then parliamentary secretary for immigration and citizenship I approved 12 grants for my then electorate of Reid worth $2.2 million without alerting the Minister for Finance and Deregulation. I would note that as parliamentary secretary I was neither the decision maker with regard to grants nor the person responsible for approving grants. The minister, Senator Evans, was the decision maker and approved all grants. Under the provisions of the Commonwealth Grant Guidelines, Senator Evans as a member of the Senate was not required to report on grants he was approving. As I was not the decision maker for the Settlement Grants Program, I was not required to inform the minister for finance. It is important to acknowledge that grants approved under the Settlement Grants Program followed recommendations made by the Department of Immigration and Citizenship.