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Tuesday, 25 November 1986
Page: 2657

Senator TOWNLEY —I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate whether he agrees with radio announcer and columnist, John Laws, who, when talking about certain government grants by this Government, said in last Sunday's edition of the Sunday Telegraph:

Millions and millions of dollars are being squandered at a time when the country is practically on its knees.

He also said that the Government was mollycoddling the parasites and fringe dwellers of society. Does the Minister agree that the public is fed up with the loony grants that are being made to fringe groups of society? Will the Minister guarantee that taxpayers' millions will not continue to be wasted?

Senator BUTTON —The question of whether taxpayers' money is being wasted always requires a very subjective judgment. Many people in the community think that taxpayers' money is being wasted by supporting the whole lot of us here in the Senate. That may be true when I look across the other side of the chamber but it is not true as far as the Government is concerned.

In relation to the matters raised by John Laws, it was a useful list, if you like, of matters in respect of which judgments have been made about their general social utility as items of expenditure. I have a lot of sympathy for what he said and I would enjoin the Government to examine some of those matters as quickly as possible.