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Thursday, 26 February 1987
Page: 699

Senator DURACK —My question is directed to the Minister for Education. I refer to her comment on the A.M. program this morning when she said: `In this particular case the brief drew the wrong conclusions. It was a mistake. It won't occur again'. Was the Minister at the recent Cabinet discussions which led to the decision by the Cabinet to have a mini-Budget in May this year? Did she at those discussions learn about the advice on interest rates that the Government had received? If so, when she was answering a question from Senator Archer yesterday, why did she not immediately realise that the briefing note was wrong? When and how did she, after Question Time yesterday, learn or realise that the briefing note was, in her words, `a mistake'?

Senator RYAN —Senator Durack has been a Cabinet Minister and he knows full well that he is asking questions he is not going to get answers to. I am not going to discuss what took place at any particular Cabinet meeting, which discussions I participated in and which I did not.

Senator DURACK —Mr President, I have a supplementary question. I asked Senator Ryan in my question when and how she learned that the briefing note was wrong. Having learned that it was wrong, why did she not correct her answer to the Senate yesterday?

Senator RYAN —When I concluded reading the brief that I used yesterday I had doubts about its content. When I had time afterwards I checked it with Mr West, and subsequently he put out a statement correcting it. The statement was widely available.