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Thursday, 16 May 2013
Page: 2798


Senator BOB CARR (New South WalesMinister for Foreign Affairs) (15:01): I am advised that in financial year 2012-13 the government has received 253 Senate questions on notice and answered 241. That is a completion rate of 95 per cent of the questions on notice. Of the 111 Senate questions on notice received in calendar year 2013, the government has answered 99—22 were answered between February and March; 77 have been answered in May—and only 12 remain unanswered as at 16 May. From 1 July 2012 to today, 16 May, Defence has received a total of 664 questions. All 253 Senate questions except for 12 have been answered; all 95 House of Representatives questions have been answered; and 213 committee questions have been answered of 316 asked.

The government and Defence continue to respond to large numbers of questions on notice from parliament and its committees. Many of the questions asked relate to complex and highly technical defence capability management issues. Accordingly, the effort required to address a number of these questions is significant. While it is important to ensure that answers to these complex and technical questions are correct, I recognise that there is room for improvement in relation to time lines for Defence's responses. Defence will continue to work to deliver more timely responses to questions on notice.