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Tuesday, 17 February 1987
Page: 58

(Question No. 3210)

Mr Blunt asked the Minister for Health, upon notice, on 17 February 1986:

(1) How many agencies were invited to submit proposals for research into the Australia Card.

(2) What were the names of the agencies.

(3) Were less than 2 agencies approached, if so, (a) is this below the minimum required and (b) why.

(4) Did Australian Nationwide Opinion Polls (ANOP) submit a written proposal.

(5) Why was ANOP chosen apart from the fact that it had worked for the Government on previous occasions.

(6) What was the fee agreed to in the contract.

(7) Did it differ from the final cost; if so, (a) by what amount and (b) why.

(8) Who authorised the contract.

(9) What was the sample size of the survey.

(10) When will the final report be tabled in Parliament.

(11) What questions did the survey ask.

(12) Will he supply me with a copy of the report.

Dr Blewett —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) One.

(2) ANOP.

(3) (a) No. The Health Insurance Commission's Accounting Policy and Procedures state that Research projects in excess of $20,000 are subject to tender unless other relevant factors make tendering inappropriate.

(b) In this instance:

(i) ANOP had already conducted qualitative research into community attitudes to the introduction of a national identity system in July 1985; and

(ii) the timing of the proposed research coincided with an existing research project affording significant cost savings as compared with conducting it as a free standing project.

(4) The Health Insurance Commission provided a brief of the question areas it wished included in the research, with particular emphasis on those matters affecting its operational strategies. These were discussed and agreed with ANOP, the Commission and representatives of the Department of Health, Australia Card Secretariat. A written quotation was obtained.

(5) See answer to part (3).

(6) $22,000.

(7) No.

(8) The General Manager of the Health Insurance Commission.

(9) A statistically representative sample of 2,000 adults (aged 18 years and over). The interviews were face-to-face, in-home, with the sample representing all States, capital cities, provincial and rural areas in proper population proportions.

(10), (11), (12) It is not my intention to have the report tabled in the Parliament. The report, in its entirety, has been included at Attachment D to the Government Submission to the Joint Select Committee on an Australia Card, and copies of this Submission were distributed to all members during the second week in February 1986.