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Tuesday, 19 March 1985
Page: 386


Senator SIBRAA —Can the Minister for Community Services inform the Senate of the practice in the Department of Community Services regarding notifying local members of grants to be made in their electorates?


Senator GRIMES —The practice which I have continued in the Department of Community Services, having been Minister for Social Security, is that when funds are made available to local organisations in various electorates throughout the country, as they are Government funds Government members are notified immediately and, where there are not Government members, the Government senator is notified. After that, Opposition members will be notified. I followed that practice because I found that it was the practice of my predecessor, Senator Chaney. On coming to office I received a letter from the Honourable Ray Groom, who was then the member for Braddon, requesting that I let him know several days before I made any announcement in his electorate so that he could let all the local organisations and Press know and therefore, obviously, get the credit for it. I notified Mr Groom at the time that my practice would be the same as that of my predecessor, Senator Chaney, with one exception-I would not be notifying candidates of my Party as distinct from members of my Party because I thought that that was going a little too far. I think it is a worthwhile practice and, as Government expenditure was notified in that way during our years in opposition, I saw no reason to change the practice when I became Minister.