Thursday, 26 June 2008
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs. Minister, why is it that you signed a letter, dated 6 June 2008 and addressed to me as the member for Sturt, in which you advised me of a grant in my electorate to a veteran organisation based in Brisbane Water? Is the minister not aware that Brisbane Water is not in South Australia? It is, in fact, almost 2,000 kilometres away on the Central Coast of New South Wales, in the electorate of Robertson. Could it be that the minister was too afraid of the member for Robertson to advise her of a grant in her electorate?
You would think the honourable member would know—although this seems to indicate that he does not—that, when we are dealing with large-scale programs in government, letters are electronically generated and the details are provided through the department in order to ensure that the details are provided to the groups. They are electronic signatures.
In those circumstances, as the member for Dunkley would know, this is a standard process employed by the department. It has been employed on more than one occasion in the past—and is certainly what occurred in his ministry—for grant programs of this nature.
This gives me an opportunity to say that this government is very proud of what it is doing to assist veterans in our community. This government fully supports providing assistance to communities and ex-service organisations through the grant programs provided by my department. Those departmental funds are provided on behalf of the government to very many important groups.
Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. I wonder about action against advisers in the box handing new members, who perhaps do not know better, their notes—which is what occurred—and whether that is assistance for disorderly conduct.
If he were serious about ensuring that these matters were handled correctly and sensitively then he might have raised this with me privately. He chose not to and he sought to make a grubby political point. This is not the first time for that side of the House, as we can tell from the interjection before provided by someone in the advisers’ box. But, once again, these things sometimes happen.
The programs we are talking about here provide excellent support to the ex-service community. They are certainly welcomed on this side of the House. If they are not by that side of the House, they ought to make that clear. I am very proud to be the minister delivering a budget on behalf of this government at a record level, building on the commitments we made in opposition that were belatedly endorsed by the now opposition when they were the government.