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Monday, 30 March 1987
Page: 1445

Senator CHANEY —My question, which is addressed to Senator Ryan, follows her recent answer to a question by Senator Harradine. How many surveys have been undertaken by the Office of the Status of Women and on what subjects? How many are relevant to the actions which might be taken in the May mini-Budget such as the slashing of the family allowance or the abolition of the dependent spouse rebate, which would, of course, increase taxes on families with a single income earner by $20 a week? Will the surveys be available to help the Australian people assess the impact of any anti-family measures in the May mini-Budget?

Senator RYAN —I do not think Senator Chaney listened very closely to what I said, and that is not surprising because he was much more interested in his own interjections. The Office of the Status of Women itself does not undertake surveys. It is not set up to do that; it does not have that capacity. As I recall, the survey I referred to-that is, the survey of attitudes of women and knowledge about family allowances and the dependent spouse rebate-was actually carried out by Australian Nationwide Opinion Polls Pty Ltd. It was commissioned by the Office of the Status of Women. Similarly, the Office of the Status of Women has given a grant to the Country Women's Association of Australia to carry out a survey on the needs and views of rural women. We are awaiting the response to that survey with great interest.

Of course, all such surveys funded through the Office of the Status of Women but not carried out by it are made in order to give the Government better information on which to base its policies for women. The survey regarding the knowledge and attitudes of Australian women to the dependent spouse rebate and family allowances has been of assistance to the Government. Undoubtedly, the survey of rural women being carried out by the Country Women's Association of Australia with a grant from the Office of the Status of Women, will be of great assistance to the Government in formulating its response to the national agenda and, indeed, in formulating its policies for the rural areas generally. Doubtless there are other surveys which have been funded through grants by the Office of the Status of Women. I will get a list of those for Senator Chaney and make sure that the results of them are made known. We do not have them done to waste time; we do them because we are genuinely trying to find out what the needs of Australian women in different circumstances are so that we can better tailor our policies to respond to those articulated needs.