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Monday, 13 May 1985
Page: 1799

Senator CROWLEY —Has the Minister representing the Treasurer seen the article in today's Australian Financial Review in which John Spender claims that the Government is not interested in community input into the forthcoming tax summit, as compared with what happened in the United States of America where public hearings were held to get the views of people in America? Can the Minister say how many submissions have been made to the Economic Planning Advisory Council, and from whom have they come, by way of refuting the silly claims of Mr Spender?

Senator WALSH —As to the last part of the question, I cannot off the top of my head answer that. A large number of submissions have been made. I will obtain the number of submissions and report it, either by letter or possibly after Question Time tomorrow. I have not read the story in the Australian Financial Review in which apparently Mr Spender whinged about the Government's reluctance to have any community input into the tax summit. For the record I note that Mr Spender's Leader-maybe not his preferred leader, but still his Leader at this time--

Senator Ryan —Temporary Leader.

Senator WALSH —Or temporary Leader, was invited to make a contribution to the tax summit and declined to do so.

I do not know whether we should conclude from those facts that Mr Spender is pursuing the Sydney faction's campaign to roll Mr Peacock as leader and is choosing this way to do it and is being critical of Mr Peacock for refusing to participate or whether he is just indulging in carping criticism of the Government. That is a matter which it is not possible to resolve in a factual way at this time, but I will provide the statistics that have been requested.