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Wednesday, 13 August 2003
Page: 13572


Senator BROWN (6:17 PM) —Not only is it very important that we hear Senator Hill, representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage, lauding the minister's work; it is also very important that the government is open with the committee about that. It is its duty to the Senate, and the question that has been asked is very reasonable: what is the indicative list of the Commonwealth properties that are going to be protected and what is the indicative list of the Commonwealth properties that will not make it and can be sold? Senator Allison is asking about some specific properties—and she has listed them—on Norfolk Island. It is important for the government to give the committee that information. If it has it, it should give it to us. I do not think it is going to change the course of this debate, except that it will give us an idea, as Senator Lundy has indicated, of the criteria and thinking of the government or its current advisers. The worst thing is for the minister to simply sit there and not respond at all to important questions like that. That is no way to treat the Senate committee process on a matter of public importance such as this.