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Wednesday, 12 September 1984
Page: 892


Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE —I preface my question, which is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate, by saying that, as I understand it, documents which are tabled in the Senate by Ministers by and large are expected to be authenticated by the Ministers. Ministers are expected to know and believe, and have reason for believing, that the documents are authentic. I ask the Minister: What standards does he impose upon his Ministers, in the event that they table a document, to ensure that the matters contained in the document are a reflection of the facts or that they seek to inquire as to their authenticity?


Senator BUTTON —I am sure that documents are tabled in this place on numerous occasions which in a sense contain arguments, points of view and so on about which there could not, in the regular course of the process of the Senate, be checks about their authenticity. In the course of the Budget discussions there have been numerous interpretations of the figures and so on tabled in this place by honourable senators which may or may not be authentic. Insofar as I believe Senator Crichton-Browne's question has a particular point, I will look into the matter and provide him with an answer in due course.