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Tuesday, 25 May 1993
Page: 1225

Senator CROWLEY (Minister for Family Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women) (6.06 p.m.) —The first part of the question asked when people became aware of the dollars raised and dollars spent. I cannot speak for the awareness of people, but I do know that very soon after that advertisement was placed—and certainly from 14 December—people could have been advised of the eligibility criteria if they had sought them. I cannot say when it was in the minds of anybody.

  It was very clear to people that this was concerned with the Christmas appeal, and was designed to address the material needs of people over Christmas time. The Prime Minister was speaking on this matter and that statement was included in his press release. The contributions at Christmas show that people in this country have an extraordinary characteristic: a remarkable propensity for generously putting their hands in their pockets. They do that at Christmas, they do it in winter; they do it all the time. Over the weekend we saw the extraordinary generosity of people in response to the Salvation Army appeal.

  At Christmas time Australians are very aware of needy people, and they are prepared to put their hands in their pockets and make a contribution. I think when people were making that contribution they were not doing anything more than they do every other time. They were making their contribution to make sure that other people had a share in the benefits of Christmas.