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Monday, 25 March 1985
Page: 705

Senate WALSH-Last Friday during question time Senator Puplick asked Senator Button on my behalf about a three-page summary of a report of a Joint Working Party of the Department of Finance and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. Senator Puplick asked, among other things, why the summary had not been tabled with the full report on 20 March. He also suggested that the omission of the summary had led to the Senate being misled as to the facts and conclusions of the Joint Working Party. It is correct that the original Joint Working Party report included a three-page summary agreed on by both the Department of Finance and the CSIRO. When I approved the tabling of this report, with the concurrence of the Minister for Science, it had been my intention that the summary be included with the tabled report. The omission of the summary was an inadvertent administrative oversight and, in accordance with Senator Button's comments last Friday in the Senate, I am now pleased to table the summary.

As to Senator Puplick's suggestion that the omission of the summary statement was designed to conceal criticisms of the Government, I point out that the comments to which Senator Puplick referred in the summary are dealt with in greater detail in the full report which was tabled in Parliament last week. I refer the Senate to paragraph 3.12. The CSIRO seems to be equally unaware of the fact that those matters were included in greater detail in the full report that was tabled. Clearly there was no attempt to censor or hide from the Senate any part of the Joint Working Party's report. I table the summary, Mr President.