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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2332


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Community Services)(11.20) —I do not know whether the Budget allocation specifically for community groups is $185,000, as Senator Vallentine suggests. What I do know is that if it were $180m we would still not have enough to cover all the applications for funds. Whatever government is in power, whatever government has to allocate funds, it has to make priorities and judgments about which community groups will get money and which ones will not. Money is being spent on the establishment of the State and national committees. I suppose there is an argument that, as they are made up of community representatives, that is part of the funding of community groups. I notice that a fair amount of the money will go on advertising and publicity, which seems inevitable in the international years that we have had so frequently in recent times.

I understand Senator Vallentine's point that this whole process is an educative one, that it involves looking not only at nuclear disarmament but also at all levels of armament as well as tension, aggression and everything else in the world. The contribution of the Government to the International Year of Peace is to provide funds in support of this United Nations year to give some encouragement to those groups in the community, right across the political spectrum and, as Senator Vallentine says, with a broad variety of views, to have a close look at this subject and to expand people's approach, to expand their knowledge. That is what it is about.

This is why people such as Sir William Keys are willing to serve on a national committee with the sorts of people that Senator MacGibbon does not like and under the sort of chairmanship that Senator MacGibbon clearly does not like. This is why those interested in the development of peace and attitudes towards peace can take some heart from the fact that in 1985-86 we can set up such a committee, that we can, as a government, support such activities and that the community as a whole will accept such activities without the screams of reds under the beds and other screams that we would have heard in previous years. Of course, we still hear them; some things never change. Some of those views that never change are represented in this chamber, and that is the way it should be. At least there is general acceptance in the community that we can and should do it. There will always be differences of opinion between Senator Vallentine, myself and others about how the money could better have been distributed, about which groups could better have got those funds. We as a government accept that there will be those differences and difficulties. All I can say is that we will do the best we can.