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Tuesday, 18 May 1993
Page: 789

(Question No. 14)

Senator Alston asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 30 March 1993:

  (1) Does the department routinely disseminate or circulate all or some of the media releases of its responsible Minister or Ministers, to organisations apart from national media organisations; if so, for what reasons are Ministerial media releases circulated by the department and to how many individuals or organisations.

  (2) For each, and which, Ministerial media release circulated in the past 18 months, what was the estimated cost of printing and circulating the releases and how many copies of the release were circulated.

  (3) Does the department circulate copies of some or all of the speeches made by the Minister: if so, for each of those circulated in the past 18 months, what was the estimated cost of printing and circulating the speech and how many copies of the speech were circulated.

Senator Gareth Evans —The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

  (1) Yes. The department routinely distributes Ministerial media releases to a wide range of individuals and organisations in addition to national media organisations. It does so in response to public interest in the substance of a particular release and in support of the Government's policy to encourage a wider public understanding and discussion of foreign and trade policies issues generally. The extent of distribution varies according to the level of interest in a particular release, but a typical release would be sent to as many as 112 individuals and organisations, including, for example, to foreign diplomatic and consular missions in Australia, representatives of the foreign press based outside Canberra, business and academic enquirers.

  (2) The estimated cost of printing and circulating a typical Ministerial media release in the past 18 months (for example, release No. M32 of 15 February 1993) was $125. The department circulated 474 copies of that release. In the past 18 months the department issued 337 media releases.

  (3) Yes. Ministerial speeches are circulated both as media releases and in collated form in a quarterly series. The estimated total cost of printing and distributing a typical speech in the quarterly collated form was $90; as a media release, $265. There were 145 copies circulated in the quarterly form and 474 copies circulated in media release form.