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Wednesday, 17 June 2009
Page: 6317

Dr SOUTHCOTT (2:35 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware that the day after contracts were awarded in the $4.9 billion employment services contract there was an email exchange discussing the details of the tendering process between the Chief of Staff of the former Minister for Employment Participation and the Chief Executive Officer of Mission Australia in which the Chief Executive Officer of Mission Australia wrote: ‘Thanks for the time you and the minister have made available to us over the last few days.’ Is the Prime Minister still satisfied that all probity guidelines were strictly adhered to in this $4.9 billion process?

Mr Albanese —Mr Speaker, is that a serious question under the standing orders?

The SPEAKER —That is not a point of order. The question was in order. The Prime Minister has the call.

Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —Thank you very much, Mr Speaker. The first part of the answer to the honourable member’s question is: no, I am not aware of that exchange. Secondly, as I listened carefully to the honourable member’s question it referred to contact between Mission Australia and the minister’s office. I would have thought that such contact was a normal matter of discourse between a minister’s office and an organisation like Mission Australia. As I said, I am unaware of the actual transaction which the honourable member refers to, but can I just say more broadly about the government’s engagement with Mission Australia that we are dealing with Mission Australia all the time on questions of local jobs initiatives and on providing services to the homeless. I would regard this as being a normal exchange. I wait for further information on which I could base a further reply.