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Tuesday, 29 May 1984
Page: 2025


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(4.29) —The Government opposes this artificial device used in an attempt to get this document tabled. I also reject the arguments used by Senator Chaney. My remarks were made after Senator Walters had attempted to use the device of standing order 364 to get the document tabled. This document is in fact a report to the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke). The Parliament has been informed that both the report and the Government 's response to the report will be brought down in the Parliament later this week . A situation in which leaked documents are tabled by artificial devices such as this works both ways of course. All sorts of documents will end up being tabled. I have no idea whether the document that Senator Messner obviously wishes to table and that Senator Walters and Senator Chaney want tabled is in fact the full report. For instance, I can give an example of what happened.

The first time that this report was purported to be reproduced in the Press was in the Age of Monday of last week or the week before. Immediately the Leader of the Opposition, Mr Peacock, said that he opposed the report and everything in it . The Age then reproduced tables which were purported to be from the report. They were inaccurate and were clearly not from the report. Clearly those tables had been produced by the Panel some time before and were inaccurate and later corrected. That was not a copy of the report that was produced. We went through an episode like this once before in this place when Senator Townley, as I remember it, used the numbers in this place to produce a scurrilous document, I think, in 1975 or 1976. That document was inaccurate, not authenticated and, in fact, not authentic. Yet the present Opposition at that time used its numbers in this place to have that document tabled. I question the practice. I know it is clever, I know it is smart, I know it is a way of getting around the Standing Orders, but for that reason the Government opposes this motion.