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Friday, 19 April 1985
Page: 1257

Senator WATSON —Does the Minister for Finance recall that on 27 March he told Senator Chaney that he had a tentative intention of releasing forward estimates of outlays next month? Is the Minister aware of the Treasurer's statement yesterday that 'forward estimates are the unadjusted estimates before the Expenditure Review Committee touches those estimates. I don't see a lot of point, therefore, in publishing them'? Is it still the Minister's intention to release the expenditure estimates in May or late April?

Senator WALSH —Again, I am flattered by the diligence displayed by the Opposition in reading at Question Time what I have to say. As I recall, I said that in March. I was quoted correctly. A decision has not been made by the Government yet as to whether the expenditure estimates will be released. My view has not changed from the one I gave in March. I am not sure whether I made it clear at that time. If I did not, I certainly make it clear now. The Government has not made a decision as to whether to release those estimates.

I think the honourable senator asked me whether I was aware of the statement made by Mr Keating. I am not aware of a statement but I have seen a Press report along the lines to which Senator Watson referred.