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Thursday, 17 October 2002
Page: 5414

Senator CARR (3:53 PM) — by leave—Yesterday there was a debate in the chamber. I appreciate that as the Minister for Justice and Customs was overseas he would not be familiar with that, but the matter arose in response to a letter from the Minister for Education, Science and Training which indicated that, in response to a Senate resolution of 28 August, the government was unable to provide a response to the report entitled Universities in crisis because the matter was with the printer and was being printed. This is a most unorthodox explanation for the failure of a government to respond to a report that, as I understand it, it has had for 13 months now. It is a considerable period of time. I understand that the report was presented to the minister in February or perhaps March this year from the department. I also understand that the matter has been with the Prime Minister since June. We were told yesterday that the government response cannot be tabled because it is at the printers. It strikes me that it would be appropriate if we could inquire of the minister how long the document is likely to stay at the printers, given that it has now taken many months. I would also seek an assurance from the minister that I be advised of the day on which it is likely to be tabled so that at least we can be made aware of the government's intentions.