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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7908

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) (3:04 PM) —On 11 December, Senator George Campbell asked me a question on the government's national security public information activity. I have further information in answer to that question. I seek leave to incorporate the answer in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows—

The answers to the honourable senator's questions are as follows:

· Government advertising operates under exactly the same guidelines that were in use under the Keating Labor Government.

· That means there is close scrutiny of the procedures and processes involved in all stages of the proposed public information activities.

· The assertion that there was no tender process is incorrect. The process undertaken was consistent with processes for the employment of consultants for urgent campaigns, including proper consideration of presentations from a variety of tenderers in the areas of research consultant, advertising agency and NESB consultant.

· The successful applicants were, respectively, Worthington Di Marzio, Brown Melhuish Fishlock and Cultural Partners Australia.

· Officials confirmed that the tender and selection processes were appropriate and within guidelines.

· Part of any public information activity involves undertaking appropriate research, and I can confirm that that research and development has commenced.

· This is a particularly important public information activity, and has to be dealt with in both a sensible and sensitive manner.

· The activity will have a variety of components, but I do not intend to go into specifics about what these components may be, nor their estimated cost, as these matters have not yet been finalised.