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Friday, 31 May 1996
Page: 1531

Senator GIBSON (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer)(11.34 a.m.) —Senator Margetts's requests for detailed information were made some time yesterday. I was only made aware of them—and I understand that this is also the case for the Assistant Treasurer (Senator Short)—last night. We do not believe that it is appropriate for the chamber to be looking at the details in committee now. As I said earlier, these are simply machinery bills which carry on the budget appropriations of the previous government for the five months until the new budget comes down. There are virtually no changes.

If there are to be changes they will arise in the 20 August budget. The Senate will have the opportunity to debate those matters fully in the estimate committees at that time. As Senator Short indicated to Senator Chamarette last night, we are happy to try to answer your questions this morning if we can. If we are unable to answer those questions, I give you the assurance that we will take those questions on notice and endeavour to get back to you with detailed answers over the next fortnight—that is, before we resume the next sittings.