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Thursday, 26 February 1987
Page: 698


Senator MICHAEL BAUME —My question is addressed to the Minister for Education. What process is followed in the preparation of ministerial briefing notes Ministers bring into parliamentary Question Times? Are these notes approved by the respective head of the department before they are sent to the Minister? Are they checked by ministerial staff before inclusion in the Question Time brief? Who approved the briefing note on interest rates tabled by the Minister in the Senate yesterday?


Senator RYAN —It is the duty of Ministers-one which I think we carry out fairly conscientiously-to give as much information to the Senate as possible.


The PRESIDENT —Order! Senator Short, I do not think holding up such signs is in accordance with the usual decorum we expect in this chamber and I would ask you to put the sign away.


Senator RYAN —Senate Ministers go to great lengths to ensure that they have as much information as possible for the benefit of senators. The particular procedures by which we do this I think are not a matter for discussion at Question Time.


Senator MICHAEL BAUME —Mr President, I have a supplementary question. Should I take it that the Minister is refusing to answer specifically whether or not these notes were approved by the respective head of the department before they were sent to the Minister? Are they checked by ministerial staff? Is she refusing to tell the Senate who approved the briefing note on interest rates tabled by the Minister in the Senate yesterday?


Senator RYAN —I am not refusing to tell the Senate anything; if I had yesterday I might be having a more pleasant day today. If Senator Michael Baume is so interested in these detailed processes he should put those questions on notice.