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Tuesday, 25 May 1993
Page: 1233


Senator PANIZZA (8.18 p.m.) —I do not want to get into this debate totally, but I would like to pick up some of the statements the Minister just made. My colleague Senator Macdonald was simply trying to ascertain why the Minister does not have anything in this appropriation, dollar for dollar, for the winter appeal. She does not want to answer, and that is her prerogative. Before that, he was just trying to ascertain why the Government supposedly decided to match the funds raised by the benevolent societies in the Christmas of 1992 but did not do it in 1991.

  I could draw two conclusions from the Minister's non-answer. The first is that from Christmas 1991 to Christmas 1992 the economy dropped away so badly that the Government had to match those donations; or that the Government simply used that allocation in the Christmas of 1992—and the Minister is not giving us an undertaking as to 1993—to shore up its chances at the Federal election. That is exactly what my colleague Senator Macdonald has been trying to extract from the Minister. The Minister should answer him so that we can carry on with the rest of the appropriations. As soon as she answers, we will carry on.