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Monday, 26 May 2003
Page: 15013

Ms Jackson asked the Prime Minister, upon notice, on 25 March 2003:

(1) What guidelines has he put in place in respect of acceptable timeframes for his Ministers to respond to correspondence to their Ministerial Offices.

(2) Is he aware that; (a) a letter I wrote to the Minister for Family and Community Services on behalf of a constituent on 25 January 2002 did not receive a response until 27 September 2002, and (b) a letter I wrote to the Treasurer on 25 November 2002 did not receive a response until 3 March 2003.

(3) Are the respective timeframes of 8 months and 3½ months unacceptable lengths of time for Ministers to respond to correspondence; if not, why not.

(4) Do these response times conflict with his Code of Conduct for Ministers; if not, why not.

Mr Howard (Prime Minister) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) to (4) I am not aware of the specific issues raised by the Member for Hasluck. The Guide on Key Elements of Ministerial Responsibility provides broad guidance for ministers on handling ministerial correspondence. I expect ministers to determine appropriate procedures for their offices and departments to respond to correspondence.