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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1389

Senator PARER —My question is directed to the Minister for Resources and Energy. The Minister will be aware that flag of convenience vessels have been banned by unions from entry to New South Wales ports for the past four years-for about as long as the Government has been in power. The Minister will also be aware that these bans preclude the export of New South Wales coal to Brazil and possibly to a few other countries. As I understand it, the Minister for Transport was requested quite some time ago to fix this problem. Will the Minister advise what action, if any, has been taken and when can this market restriction on exports of New South Wales coal expect to be lifted?

Senator GARETH EVANS —We are a little bit more sensitive to the feelings of our ministerial colleagues on this side of the Parliament than are those on the other side. I would not contemplate trespassing in an area which unquestionably is Mr Peter Morris's. We are all well aware of the implications of the flag of convenience issue for coal exports, along with a number of other things. It is a sensitive and delicate issue which Mr Morris has been handling with his usual, admirable competence. I will seek from him an appropriate reply to the question, but I suggest that if the honourable senator wants to pursue the matter further he should do it through the appropriate Minister responsible for representing the Minister for Transport.