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Thursday, 10 November 1983
Page: 2584

Mr PEACOCK —The Treasurer will recall on Tuesday replying to a question without notice from me about compensation following the Government's decision on uranium . I ask: Will he confirm or deny Press reports today that Caucus, at its special meeting on Monday, specifically directed Cabinet to consider the issue of compensation for those disadvantaged by the decision? How does he reconcile this decision, of which he must have been aware, with his statement to this House on Tuesday that 'the whole matter of compensation as such, is not one which has arisen to date'? As the Minister for Resources and Energy has now admitted that Cabinet will consider this issue next week, will the Treasurer explain why he misled the House and the many Australians, including the Aboriginal people, who will be deeply affected by the Government's decision?

Mr KEATING —There has been no decision about compensation, as I said. In that sense, there has been no attempt at all to mislead the House. The Leader of the Opposition implied in his question, in his ignorance, that in some way mines which had not had a cash flow available to them may on that basis have been in a position to make a claim for compensation. I indicated to him that no such claim had ever been made. I did not indicate on Tuesday but I indicate on this occasion that the Australian Labor Party had enunciated a policy in this direction for a very long time before any of these mines were established or, indeed, were in prospect. In those terms the reply I gave the honourable gentleman was very much in line with the question he asked and based upon the ignorant premise upon which the question itself was based.