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Wednesday, 25 June 2003
Page: 17492


Mr LAURIE FERGUSON (2:45 PM) —My question is directed to the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs. Given that the minister has now had some days to consider the matter, will the minister inform Australians as to how many ministerial intervention matters Mr Karim Kisrwani has been involved in and in what percentage of those cases the minister granted a visa?


Mr RUDDOCK (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation) —I suspected the member for Reid would come back to the question he asked yesterday, and I checked my memory as to the question he asked of me. He asked:

in how many cases has ... Mr Karim Kisrwani had contact with the minister and his office in relation to intervention?

In responding to that request, I said:

I have no say over who approaches me. The numbers of times that people approach me vary greatly. Some members of parliament never approach me. Others approach me on one or two occasions. Others approach me on tens of occasions. It is the same with migration agents and community representatives.

In order to satisfy the request made by the member for Reid, who believes that some indicative answers I gave on a limited basis in relation to specific requests by members in specific time frames against specific categories where it was possible to ascertain a limited number of cases—

Opposition member—Can you qualify it any more than that?


Mr RUDDOCK —No—


The SPEAKER —Minister!


Mr RUDDOCK —I think the member should be aware of the volume of requests that have been made to me in relation to my intervention powers since I became minister in 1996. It is some 27,000 requests for intervention. Given the volume of requests I have received and the period of time covered, it would be a major task to isolate, collect and assemble the details sought by the member for Reid concerning contact with me and my office in relation to every request for possible intervention that has been made over that time frame and then to identify in how many cases we were successful. It has been the practice of successive governments over a long period of time not to authorise the expenditure of time and money involved in assembling information on a general basis, and I would not be prepared to authorise such expenditure.