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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2230

Senator BOSWELL —I refer the Attorney- General to his answer yesterday to Senator Chaney about making public information on attitudes to deferred referendum proposals. Has he found out why his Department told Estimates Committee E that publicly funded market research would not be released, when he had said he would not object to tabling the results of the survey? When will the material be made available?

Senator GARETH EVANS —It will be made available right now, Mr President, and I hereby table it. There was no intention to mislead or fudge the issue, so far as my departmental officers were concerned, in replying as they did to the Estimates Committee. It was simply a matter of their not having appreciated that I had given the undertaking in the Parliament the day before to table the information. It was simply a question, as often happens in departmental administration, of the left hand not being totally across what the right hand was doing. There was certainly no intention on my part not to produce the material. When the answer was given in the terms that it was, it was not challenged by Senator Durack, who was sitting at the table at the time. As a result the affair passed unnoticed until, as I said yesterday, Senator Chaney tried to turn it into some kind of Busby Berkeley production number. I am sorry to disappoint the honourable senator. There is nothing he need feel excessively excited about. I am happy to provide the information, as I always said I would be. I table it for anyone who wants to come and get it.