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Thursday, 9 December 2004
Page: 81

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) (3:03 PM) —I have further information in response to a question asked by Senator Carr on 2 December in relation to Mr Ken Crooke. I seek leave to incorporate the answer in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The answer read as follows—

(1) Can the Minister confirm that Mr Ken Crooke was a senior member of the staff of the former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Transport and Regional Services?

(2) Wasn't Mr Crooke employed by Mrs Kelly when Mr Crooke acted for both her and A2 Dairy Marketers during negotiations for a Regional Partnerships Grant this year?

(3) Can the Minister advise the Senate on what date Mr Crooke commenced employment in Mrs Kelly's office?

(4) Isn't it the case that Mr Crooke was on the staff of Mrs Kelly when he represented the A2 company at negotiations with representatives of the Queensland Government on 8 July 2004?

(5) Is it the Minister's contention that people in rural and regional areas are not concerned with the propriety and probity of government grant allocations?

(6) Is Mr Crooke still working for Mrs Kelly? When did his employment cease?

(7) Has the Prime Minister investigated Mr Crooke's involvement with A2 Dairy Marketers including any role he had with the company in connection with the activities that led to the recent conviction of that company for false advertising? Can he confirm that on 8 July Mr Crooke, as a director of the Asia Pacific Corporation, was actually involved in negotiations with the Queensland Government with regard to the A2 company?

Senator Hill—The Prime Minister has provided me with the following information in response to the Honourable Senator's question.

(1) Mr Crooke was employed in Mrs Kelly's office as an Executive Assistant/Office Manager from 28 June to 4 July 2004 and as an Assistant Adviser from 5 July until 31 October 2004.

(2) Mr Crooke did not act for both Mrs Kelly and A2 Marketers during any negotiations.

(3) 28 June 2004.

(4) Mrs Kelly has issued a statement on this matter and I have nothing further to add.

(5) No.

(6) No. His employment ceased on 31 October 2004.

(7) I have nothing to add to the statements made by Mrs Kelly on this matter.