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Thursday, 13 May 1993
Page: 633


Senator COLLINS (Minister for Transport and Communications) —by leave—Senator Alston asked a question earlier about MDS papers. I have spoken to the officers concerned about this but neglected to get back to Senator Alston because I was overtaken by other business. I advise Senator Alston that I am told that there is a fair bit of paper. I advise Senator Alston that the department will make every effort to table all of it on Tuesday.

  One of the difficulties is—and I canvassed this earlier today—that the officers who are of sufficient seniority to ensure that the Senate gets a complete set are the same officers who are now heavily involved in the inquiry which is taking place inside the department. In that sense, they are somewhat preoccupied but I am told that the work has begun in earnest to get those papers ready.

  I certainly give an undertaking that we will attempt to provide them all on Tuesday. I am confident that we will provide most of them on Tuesday; there will certainly be a body of papers lodged with the Senate on Tuesday and they will be the maximum number of papers that can be put together in that time, even if the officers have to work over the weekend.

  I also give an undertaking that I will give Senator Alston a progress report, and the Australian Democrats, as early as I can. This I can guarantee: the maximum number of papers will be lodged on Tuesday. If any are left out, I imagine that it will not be long after that that they will be tabled.