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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 2907

Senator MICHAEL BAUME(5.31) —I do not intend to be leaping to my feet consistently. I will endeavour to be as brief as possible on these matters. I am simply raising the ones which there was no opportunity of raising on other occasions which would have been more appropriate had the information been available.

Senator Gareth Evans —You showed that you can pass the wet cement test months ago.

Senator MICHAEL BAUME —I hope the Minister can pass the providing information test. So far we have had a less than adequate supply of information, as he has very nicely conceded on a couple of matters. On the latest matter I simply ask how many instances are there of organisations such as the Australia-Japan Foundation having been provided with lump sums, say at the beginning of the financial year, and having been able to increase substantially the amount of money available to them by putting the money on the short term money market. I am not objecting to their doing so; I am wondering whether it might be a lot better if the Government adopted this procedure throughout the whole of its activities. There is no doubt that the Australia-Japan Foundation can earn more on its money by playing the market than it costs the Government to raise the money in the first place. We could perhaps get a much more streamlined private enterprise approach to governmental activity if this sort of thing happened. I wonder whether there are many other organisations within the Department or under its surveillance that have the capacity to put large amounts of money on the money market to earn substantially more than their grants and, therefore, increase their activities by this private enterprise approach.