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Thursday, 30 April 1987
Page: 2078


Senator REYNOLDS —Can the Minister for Finance ask his Department to investigate whether there is any conflict of interest in Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen attending the forthcoming Premiers Conference when he has publicly indicated that he will be fully committed to his Canberra election campaign as the de facto Federal National Party leader? Would it be possible for the Deputy Premier, Mr Gunn, to represent Queensland's interests as obviously the Premier's thoughts will be focused elsewhere?


Senator WALSH —I would have thought that the conflict of interest was self-evident. The Premier, wearing the Premier's hat, will be coming down here trying to screw as much out of the Commonwealth taxpayer as he possibly can to construct the Bradfield scheme or another dam on the McKenzie River for the family irrigation scheme, or something like that, and when he puts on his other hat he will be saying that there should be $20 billion knocked off Commonwealth expenditure. I do not think that there is anything the Treasurer, the Prime Minister, or anybody in the Commonwealth Government, can do to stop the Premier coming to the Conference ostensibly representing Queensland if he wishes. Likewise, I believe it would be quite acceptable if Mr Gunn, the Deputy Premier, were to come along as the representative of the Queensland Government. All things considered, I suppose it would be more appropriate if that were done.