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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2301

Senator COLSTON(10.27) —I should like to quote some parts of the report of Estimates Committee D. First I shall refer to the section concerned with access to Hansard. The report says:

Access to the Hansard is necessary so that ready reference may be made to those questions which were asked and the answers which were received at the hearing. As well, Hansard is required by Departments so that they can provide accurate responses to questions placed on notice. Therefore the Committee believes that the practice of the Legislative and General Purpose Standing Committees of circulating the uncorrected proof of evidence should be followed by Estimates Committees.

Then a recommendation is made, but I will read that in a moment. One difficulty that many committees had over the past few weeks was that the Hansard record of evidence taken at committee hearings was not available to members of those committees. This created certain problems. In fact, there was a major problem in the Senate itself at one stage as certain honourable senators had copies of the transcript while others did not. This not only created problems but some dissension as well. The Committee believes that there are problems encountered by the Government Printer in providing Hansard readily to honourable senators. One could imagine what would happen on a day when the House of Representatives is sitting, the Senate sits for perhaps a short time and a number of Senate committees sit that afternoon and into the evening. The work load for the Government Printer would be such that Hansard could not be made available readily. This creates problems for senators. Estimates Committee D therefore suggests that uncorrected proofs of evidence should be circulated to senators. Estimates Committee D has made the following recommendation in its report:

This Committee, therefore, recommends that, the uncorrected proof of evidence for each Estimates Committee should be made available to the members of that Committee-

Consideration interrupted.

The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Elstob) —Order! It being 10.30 p.m., under sessional order I put the question:

That the Temporary Chairman do now leave the chair and report to the Senate.

Question put.