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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2398

The PRESIDENT —I wish to make a very brief intervention here as leader of the delegation. I was very proud to have led the delegation. I thought it was a highly successful delegation: firstly, in meeting all its objectives—a rare thing, I think, because often lofty objectives are set but very seldom met; secondly, in working well together as a cohesive team whose main focus was to present a positive image for Australia, and also to learn as much as we could while we were away. I believe all of those things were achieved. I want to briefly comment on four things.

  Firstly, the delegation set out to present themselves as sales people for Australia and, I think, succeeded admirably in doing this. Many positive comments were made not only by hosts, but also by Australians at the functions that we attended who said that we did that very well. I am proud that we did. We managed to convey a picture, I think, of Australia as a vibrant, changing place, increasingly involved in sophisticated manufacturing and services and no longer the farm, quarry and woolshed that many people imagine us as.

  Secondly, I want to mention the excellent organisation and access that delegates received in Germany. Senators Foreman and Ferguson have already mentioned this. It partly resulted from the previous visit here by President Wedemeier, the President of the Bundesrat, and his assertion that the organisation of his visit here by the Parliamentary Relations Office was excellent and among the best that he had ever seen in his many travels worldwide. He gave particular praise to one of our officers, Kieran Schneemann, and I would like to confirm that praise on behalf of the delegation because it reflected in the quality of the visit that we had to Germany.

  The third thing I would like to mention is the excellent work of the secretary, Sue Morton, who is in the advisers box over here. I have been on a number of delegations, but seldom has a report been tabled so soon, and very seldom has such a thorough and useful report, and one that is worth reading, been produced. I thank Sue not only for that, but also for the excellent support that she gave us as we went around. There was nothing left undone; it was excellent organisation. I would also like to thank Fred Peppinck, the senior adviser on my staff, who gave able support to Sue in the various roles that she played.

  Fourthly and finally, I would like to thank the delegation who, I think, really put a full effort into this visit and made us all proud to be such a cohesive group that was really selling Australia in such a positive way. We came away from it feeling that we had done something very useful, that we had learned a great deal, and that we had also made some very long-lasting friends from both sides of politics.

  Question resolved in the affirmative.