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Thursday, 12 September 1985
Page: 514

(Question No. 411)

Senator Colston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 20 August 1985:

(1) Is the Minister for Social Security aware of a report in the Courier-Mail of 17 July 1985 which stated that the Queensland Employment and Industrial Relations Minister, Mr Lester, had sent a list of about 100 names to the Social Security Department with a covering letter asking whether sacked South East Queensland Electricity Board workers were receiving favourable treatment in receiving social security payments.

(2) Did Mr Lester send such a letter; if so, what is the text of Mr Lester's letter and the list of names which were attached.

Senator Grimes —The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) Yes; I did see that report.

(2) A list of names under a covering unsigned note was received by my Department in Brisbane. I am not prepared to provide details of the list of names supplied since these are protected by the confidentiality provisions of the Social Security Act. Suffice to say that the allegations were thoroughly investigated-48 of those named were found not to be in receipt of social security payments. The others had not received income from the Electrical Trades Union. Some of those named had received emergency relief from funds administered by a Committee of sacked workers. Emergency relief does not constitute income for social security purposes and its receipt in no way precludes or even reduces any entitlement to unemployment benefit.