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Thursday, 29 March 1984
Page: 879

Senator HAINES —Is the Attorney-General aware of allegations made by a Labor member in the Queensland Parliament relating to the Sunshine Association of Australia and the apparent mismanagement of funds within that organisation? Is he aware that on 22 August 1983 the Australian Democrat member of the House of Assembly, Mr Gordon Walsh, wrote to the Hon. Tom Uren, MP, with similar allegations about the Australian Capital Territory branch of the Sunshine Association of Australia? In particular, is the Attorney-General aware that the Community Development Fund file on this Association reveals that its projected budget for 1983-84 indicates that $67,048 will be spent on salaries and expenses , but no mention is made of anticipated expenditure to assist terminally ill children? By the way, this body is apparently assisted by a $73,000 loan from its parent body in Queensland. Does the Attorney-General agree with Mr Uren's response of 29 November 1983, which indicated that the matter was very sensitive ; that the interests of all parties needed to be protected; and that there was no scope under the Associations Incorporation Ordinance 1953 to undertake any investigation into the allegations? If he does agree, will he say who could undertake the necessary investigation, and whether or not he is prepared to recommend such an inquiry?

Senator GARETH EVANS —I am not at all sure that this is within my portfolio.

Senator Haines —According to Mr Uren it is.

Senator GARETH EVANS —That is interesting. My knowledge of this is confined to two small facts. One is that I recall seeing that the Queensland Attorney- General recently made some noises about this particular Sunshine Association and about the inappropriateness of its continuing to be registered under the Queensland voluntary associations legislation. I know also, as a fact, that there is a degree of concern about the inadequacies of certain provisions of the Australian Capital Territory Associations Incorporation Ordinance, in respect of which some remedial action is now taking place. As to the linkage between those two phenomena, I know nothing. I will endeavour to give the the honourable senator further and better particulars in due course.