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Thursday, 16 October 2008
Page: 6268

Senator STERLE (5:28 PM) —I would like to continue my remarks on the Offshore Petroleum Amendment (Greenhouse Gas Storage) Bill 2008 and related bills. Yesterday I was quoting the comments of the member for Kalgoorlie and I was saying how happy I was to hear opposition senators and members endorsing these bills. I was saying that when the member for Kalgoorlie was endorsing the bills he was also seriously pushing the line of Woodside. As I said yesterday, and as I have said in this chamber on a number of occasions, I like to push Woodside’s argument too, and I am very supportive of Woodside. In fact, I am sounding like a broken record on the wonderful opportunity they have given a lot of Western Australians and other Australians in the great state of Western Australia, particularly up on the North West Shelf and with the future gas reserve areas in the Browse Basin.

I do not wish to mention the opposition senator’s name—and I will not. However, when opposition Western Australian Liberal senators are endorsing a private company, it would not hurt them to let the Senate know that there may be a conflict of interest. I wish that I could say that I owned Woodside shares. I really do. Unfortunately, I do not. When senators and members want to bag the government and push Woodside’s line, the least they could do is let the Senate know that they do, or may, have a conflict of interest. We know that the opposition would certainly not condone a senator for having interests in Woodside shares. But there is enough talk going around about shareholdings, so I will leave it at that.

I commend these bills to the Senate. They are very important. The Rudd government initiative for greenhouse gas storage is a wonderful initiative. We have certainly had some endorsement from senior executives in industry and in science. Therefore, I will say it one more time: I commend these bills to the Senate.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Parry)—Thank you, Senator Sterle. I think it is important to note that senators do complete a register of senators’ interests.