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Wednesday, 19 November 1986
Page: 2535

Senator GRIMES (Minister for Community Services)(9.03) —I merely point out that I am in the chamber because it is my time to be on duty, not because of anything to do with Senator Walsh. I understand that Senator Newman was concerned about overdue accounts with the Australian Government Publishing Service. My advice is that the AGPS has recently introduced new debtor procedures and more attention is being paid to following up overdue accounts. This should help alleviate the problem of overdue debts. However, I must add that overdue debts are a problem of large organisations, government and non-government. I am sure that Senator Newman will agree with that. The problem must be addressed by both the AGPS and the client departments.

I have no answer to give in regard to Senator Newman's question about cycling. I just make the point, as someone who also comes from Launceston, that of course I would like to see Launceston, with its excellent facilities, as the centre of the Australian Institute of Sport cycling. I too have made representations in that regard. All I can say is that no decision has yet been taken. We will take Senator Newman's views into account. I just make the point again that it is very convenient and easy at Estimates time to get up an wear one's arm out priming the parish pump. For heaven's sake, if we do that every time, it does not matter what government is in power, we put in danger the Senate Estimates system. To my knowledge the question of a cycling centre for the Australian Institute of Sport has been discussed for 18 months. It has been a matter of controversy in our local newspapers; it has also been a matter of controversy in South Australian local newspapers. I make the point that the only person who has raised this issue tonight is Senator Newman. I take considerable heart from the fact that the South Australian senators are not rising to speak in this debate one after the other advocating Adelaide, where Charlie Walsh is the coach as the centre of cycling. We may feel good-I am all for people feeling good-if we spend our time priming our local parish pumps when we speak on the Appropriation Bills and participate in Estimates committee hearings, but, for heaven's sake, that sort of thing debases this chamber.