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Thursday, 18 September 2003
Page: 20520

Mr RUDDOCK (Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Reconciliation) (3:25 PM) —Mr Speaker, on 5 June, I was asked a question in relation to Mr Tan. I informed the House then:

The assessment was based upon Mr Tan's completed business skills monitoring survey form which detailed his business activities in Australia. Mr Tan provided the detailed supporting documentation requested in the survey form. That demonstrated a genuine attempt to be involved in business activity in Australia, which is the requirement of the monitoring. The material that Mr Tan provided was reviewed by my department, and an Australian Securities and Investment Commission check was undertaken which independently verified his ownership of a business. That led to the department withdrawing from the AAT review on 25 March 2002.

In relation to that let me just simply say, as I think I did later that day in a censure debate, that my involvement in that was normal in the sense that, if the department is involved in resisting a matter in the AAT or before a court and the advice is that they are in an unwinnable position, the minister's view is sought as to whether one should continue litigating a matter which one is going to lose or whether one should withdraw with grace and save the taxpayer money. I offered advice—

Ms Roxon —When did you make that—

Mr RUDDOCK —It would have been shortly before 25 March. That is the only point I was making; it was quite clear.

Ms Roxon —How shortly?

Mr RUDDOCK —I do not know how shortly before—

The SPEAKER —The minister will address his remarks through the chair.

Mr RUDDOCK —but I know that I deal with most of these issues simply a matter of a few days before the actual implementation of that. As I said, the department withdrew on 25 March 2002.