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Monday, 4 June 1984
Page: 2476

Senator RYAN (Minister for Education and Youth Affairs)(10.39) —Senator Rae did indeed notify the office of the Minister for Industry and Commerce (Senator Button) of his intention to raise certain matters on the adjournment debate tonight. I must apologise on behalf of Senator Button that the explanation Senator Rae was seeking with respect to the change in the gathering of data for the Department of Industry and Commerce from the Department of Trade to the use of independent consultants of the Australian National University is not available this evening. I was pleased to note that Senator Peter Rae during the course of his remarks expressed no criticism of the consultants from the Australian National University who are being employed. Indeed, he took the opportunity to say some very favourable things about the Australian National University and I was pleased to hear that. Unfortunately, Senator Rae's quest for an explanation on this matter must wait a little longer but Senator Button has undertaken to provide him with an explanation as soon as possible.

With regard to the other matter raised by Senator Rae-that of reliable standards for life jackets-I can only endorse what he says, that equipment which is purchased and used by people ought to be able to perform the function for which it is purchased. I was very relieved to hear that in his own case Senator Rae was, in the event, able to rely on his life jacket. We have evidence of that in Senator Rae's presence here tonight and for that, of course, we are all grateful. However, this is a most serious matter. Water sports, particularly ocean sailing, are growing in popularity and there are times when not only Senator Rae but also other sailors need the protection of such equipment in a life and death situation. So I am sure that not only Senator Button, the Minister for Industry and Commerce, but also Mr Barry Cohen, the Minister for Home Affairs and Environment, who is in charge of consumer affairs matters, will be most concerned to hear the claims that some of this equipment which is being imported from the United States of America is not of an adequate standard. I am sure that they will wish to rectify that situation. In that matter too, I undertake to ensure that Senator Rae will receive information at the earliest possible opportunity.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Senate adjourned at 10.41 p.m.