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Notice given 2 April 2008

*388†  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—In regard to the Census of Population and Housing conducted by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS):

(1) Does the Government consider that the question on religion which asks ‘What is the person’s religion?’ presupposes that the person has religious beliefs; if not, why not; if so, is this presupposition likely to skew the answer.

(2) Has the ABS considered alternative wording, such as ‘Does the person practice religion? - Yes/No’ and ‘If the person practices religion, which religion?’; if not, why not.

(3) Is it the intention of the ABS, in its collection of data on religion, to determine: (a) the number of people who practice religion; (b) the number of people who identify with a religion but do not engage in religious practice, such as prayer or attending church; and/or (c) the number of people whose only religious association is that of family background.

*389  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy—With reference to information provided to the Minister by Mr Matt Mushalik, a civil engineer, on 14 March 2008 that: (a) in October 2007, former Saudi Aramco chief, Sadad-Al-Husseini, reclassified 300 billion barrels of booked reserves as less useful ‘resources’, an amount 80 times the amount Shell had to downgrade in 2004, thus moving forward the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ oil depletion clock by 30 years; (b) 45 per cent of global oil supplies hinge on just one-fifth of a declining reserve base which depletes at a rate of 7 per cent per annum; and (c) the other 55 per cent of global oil supplies come from reserves with low annual production rates that are largely unaudited and that their true status is not known (i.e. proven, probable or possible):

(1) Does the Minister agree with the assessment provided by Mr Mushalik; if not, why not.

(2) Will the Government, as suggested, perform a fuel availability study for the lifespan of infrastructure projects, such as airport extensions, freeways, road tunnels, car-dependent shopping centres and subdivisions.

(3) Will the Government, as suggested, prepare a critical path analysis of future clean energy supplies and feasible technological developments for alternative fuels; if so, when.