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Tuesday, 18 November 1986
Page: 2415

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Community Services)(6.18) —Senator Vigor started off his little speech by saying that the Government was determined to introduce overseas funds into Australia at all costs and he finished up by telling us about the modest expenditure that the Australian Democrats' proposals would cost. The last time I costed them in my area the cost was $4.5 billion. I do not think that is very modest, but others may. Senator Vigor mentioned the Australian Science and Technology Council report, which I am afraid I have not read recently and which my advisers here do not know about, and the efforts of the Foreign Investment Review Board which, he seems to think, is going to fall apart. I know that we have freed up the capacity of foreign investors to assist in the development of this country, but as for detailed matters of transfer pricing and negative gearing of takeovers, I will get answers for him. I am afraid that I have not prepared answers to all his questions and all the proposals put forward by Ken Davidson and others, but I will seek replies from the Treasurer (Mr Keating) to the questions he has raised. All I can say is that, from my recollection in this place, revenue raising is very easy when in opposition but it is very difficult when in government. Cutting expenditure is very easy in opposition and is also difficult in government. I understand that the proposals the honourable senator has put forward are serious ones and that his concerns are serious ones, as are those of all honourable senators. I will refer these matters to the Treasurer.