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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2300

Senator WALSH (Minister for Resources and Energy)(10.24) —I remember the events at the time Mr Kerin made his Press statement in October 1982. I believe it was acknowledged by Mr Nixon that he had in fact intervened in the sense that he had asked or directed the Australian Dairy Corporation not to proceed with the sale. The reason for doing so was that he believed or feared that the Indonesian Government might at some stage intervene to block the sale. Mr Nixon was criticised at the time by Mr Kerin-quite properly in my view-for having intervened in that way. If the Indonesian Government decided to block the sale, that was the Indonesian Government's affair; but there was no need for the Australian Government to intervene gratuitously at the stage that it did. As to what advice may have been received then or subsequently from the Department of Foreign Affairs, I am unable to answer at the moment. I will see whether there is any response from Mr Kerin on it if that satisfies Senator Archer.