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Friday, 1 June 1984
Page: 2376

Senator JESSOP —I ask the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs whether Margaret Gibbs of Australian Nationwide Opinion Polls Pty Ltd, which carries out political market research for the Australian Labor Party, is known personally to the Minister? Did she have any discussions with Margaret Gibbs about a survey of attitudes towards the funding of government and non-government schools before or after finance for such a survey had been rejected by Mr Dawkins? Was Finance for the survey ultimately obtained on the approval of the Special Minister of State, the Minister who had to resign from Cabinet because of indiscretions with Mr Rod Cameron, the head of ANOP?

Senator RYAN —The first part of the honourable senator's question was whether Margaret Gibbs of Australian Nationwide Opinion Polls Pty Ltd is known to me. Yes, she is known to me. It would be known to the Senate that the Australian Labor Party, as distinct from the Government, has employed the services of ANOP from time to time, mainly during election campaigns. I have met Margaret Gibbs on a number of occasions in that capacity and, indeed, found her to be an extremely competent person to deal with. As to a meeting I had with Margaret Gibbs, I certainly had a meeting with Margaret Gibbs to discuss the scope of the youth attitudes survey and to discuss the possibility of extending that survey to make some sort of investigation into community attitudes to schools funding. I do not recall the date of that meeting but it certainly took place. As to the approval for the expenditure of $35,000 for an extension of the youth attitudes survey to cover community attitudes to schools funding, that was, indeed, properly approved by the Special Minister of State since the appropriation for that survey was within the portfolio of the Special Minister of State.