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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2077

Senator PETER BAUME —I address my question to the Special Minister of State. On the basis of information from some of my colleagues who are receiving word processors in their electorate offices, and on information I have had from journalists, I have become concerned lest there be a substitution racket operating with respect to the computers. I therefore ask the Minister: Is it correct that the word processing workstations being installed in electorate offices are not produced by the Time office equipment firm but in fact by a firm called Osborne? Further, is it correct that these workstations have a `Made in Taiwan' label attached to them? If so, why has the substitution taken place? Does the equipment supplied conform in all respects to the requirements of the tender? If so, could the Minister explain how? What is the Australian content of the workstations? Given that the Government has spent more than $3m to promote a Buy Australian campaign, what responsibility does the Minister and his Department accept to buy Australian in this matter? Can the Minister explain how it is possible for equipment from Taiwan to be provided in the tendering and contractual process undertaken by his Department?

Senator TATE —I do not have the information available to me to confirm whether the so-called substitution, which is the key element in the question asked, is the case. Therefore, I certainly do not accept the suggestion in the last part of Senator Baume's question which requires that such substitution from Taiwan be an element authenticated by my answer. I will have to take some advice on that and I will provide the honourable senator with an answer as soon as possible.