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Wednesday, 27 October 1993
Page: 2616

Senator PATTERSON —My question is addressed to the Minister assisting the Prime Minister for the Status of Women. We heard earlier in question time that, as part of a budget deal, the government has suspended the family planning aid program aimed at cutting infant and maternal mortality in developing countries. Was the minister consulted about the suspension of this program? Was the Office of the Status of Women consulted? Were any of the minister's female ministerial colleagues consulted?

Senator CROWLEY —The facts of that matter have been very adequately answered by the foreign minister earlier today. If the honourable senators opposite had any concerns, I would have thought that they should have been laid to rest by Senator Gareth Evans's answer.

Senator Vanstone —Were you consulted? That is the question.

Senator CROWLEY —In terms of a direct answer as to whether I was consulted, I need to first of all make the point clearly that there was an implication in Senator Patterson's question that was clearly wrong. I would like to make it clear that Senator Evans refuted that. No, I was not consulted. As for the Office of the Status of Women, I cannot tell Senator Patterson about that.

Senator PATTERSON —I ask a supplementary question. I would appreciate it very much if the minister could ask the Office of the Status of Women whether it was consulted and advise the Senate accordingly tomorrow after question time.

Senator CROWLEY —Yes.