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Wednesday, 29 November 2000
Page: 20190

Senator Faulkner asked the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, upon notice, on 9 August 2000:

(1) Since 1 July 1999, has the department, or any agency in the portfolio, commissioned or participated in any way in public opinion research in non-metropolitan areas; if so, which agency, or which functional area of the department.

(2) What was the purpose of this research and what were the objectives as set out for the research company or body when commissioned.

(3) Was any of this research designed to test the reaction of rural and regional constituents to Federal Government decisions, policies or potential policies, in any way similar to the research described in the Sunday Telegraph, 23 July 2000, page 81.

(4) (a) Which company or other body carried out the research; (b) what were the research methods to be used; and (c) what was the expected timetable for this research.

(5) Was any of the work sub-contracted to any other company or body; if so, why, and to which company or body.

(6) What were the results of this research.

(7) Who made the request that this research be undertaken, and who authorised the expenditure.

(8) What was the estimated cost of this research, and what was the total cost.

(9) How will the results of this research be used.

Senator Newman (Minster for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) —The Minister for Veterans' Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes. Commemorations Branch.

(2) The research was Stage 4 of research commissioned in 1998 under the Their Service - Our Heritage commemorative program to identify the level of interest and understanding among the general community in Australia in commemorating our military history. The research would also define the information required to facilitate community involvement in local programs and establish benchmarks to track and evaluate progress towards 2001.

The objective of Stage 4 was to monitor awareness and attitudes among a cross-section of the Australian community and compare them with benchmark data to identify changes.

(3) No.

(4) (a) McGregor Tan Research, Frewville, SA 5063

(b) Stage 4 involved a nation-wide telephone survey among 1,000 people aged 14 or over. The survey included respondents from capital cities, major regional centres and other rural/regional areas. Quotas for each were based on the population distribution recorded by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the 1996 Census.

(c) Stage 4 interviews were conducted during August and September 1999.

(5) No.

(6) The Department was provided with a report outlining the findings of the survey.

(7) The contract was signed for and on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia by Kerry Blackburn, Branch Head, Commemorations.

The expenditure for Stage 4 was authorised by James Rogers, Director, Commemorative Activities.

(8) The estimated cost and total cost of Stage 4 was $28,000.

(9) The research results are being used to assess community interest in and behaviour towards Australia's wartime history and associated commemorations; to develop appropriate commemorative programs; and to assist in the development and implementation of communication strategies for Australia's wartime heritage and the Their Service - Our Heritage commemorative program.