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Thursday, 30 August 2001
Page: 30675

Mr LEE (3:04 PM) —My question is again addressed to the Prime Minister, given his inability to confirm whether or not the advertising campaign is starting next Sunday.

Mr SPEAKER —The member for Dobell will come to his question.

Mr LEE —Prime Minister, can you confirm that, when your pre-election education propaganda campaign is added to the list, your government is now spending close to $40 million on advertising in August and September this year alone? Prime Minister, isn't it correct that this means that in two months the federal government will spend more on advertising than it will spend in the entire year on capital funding for schools in South Australia, Western Australia or Tasmania?

Mr SPEAKER —The member for Dobell will come to his question.

Mr LEE —Prime Minister, why do you believe it is more important to spend this money on Liberal Party advertising than on improving Australia's needy schools?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —I effectively took the previous question from the member for Dobell on—

Mr Lee —Don't you know?

Mr HOWARD —To be perfectly honest, I do not know without checking. If you think that you have scored some devastating political hit on me as a result of that, you are even more foolish than I thought you were. What I will do, as I said I would do in answer to the earlier question, is take it on notice and find out. Can I say that I do not accept, without checking, that what you have said is accurate. I will find out and let you know.

Mr Lee —Mr Speaker, once again I seek leave to table the schedule of advertising if the Prime Minister wants to check it out.