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Wednesday, 29 April 1987
Page: 1979

Senator VIGOR —I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Communications. Has the Minister demanded a full explanation from Australia Post of why nothing was done for five years to enforce physical security arrangements at premises used to print stamps and why Australia Post failed to inform the Minister of those deficiencies when contracts were renewed last year? Has the Minister called upon Australia Post to account for the continued disinterest in control over stamps produced and destroyed, as set out in the latest Auditor-General's report? Will the Minister for Communications demand an end to Australia Post's wasteful stamp destruction procedures, which have resulted in several court cases in recent years, each involving the diversion of hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stamps destined for destruction?

Senator WALSH —I have some information on this matter. It appears that, in anticipation of Australia retaining the America's Cup, Australia Post had printed some 35 million stamps, which were a reprint of an earlier issue. Something was included on the face of the stamps that presumed that Australia would retain the cup in February 1987. As history did not work out that way it would have been absurd to issue the stamps. Subsequent events made it inappropriate, to say the least, to issue the stamps; so Australia Post decided to destroy them. I do not have information about the second part of Senator Vigor's question. I will try to get it.