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PM must make full statement over Danpork affair



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SENATOR RON BOSWELL NATIONAL PARTY LEADER IN THE SENATE

SENATOR FOR QUEENSLAND

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M E D I A

JOTNT STATEMENT BY SENATOR RON BOSWELL AND^FNATOR ΏΠ J, O’CHEE .

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PM MUST MAKE FULL STATEMENT OVER DANPORK AFFAIR

The Prime Minister Mr. Keating must now make a full and complete written statement disclosing all details of his involvement in the Danpork joint venture piggery, National Party Senators Ron Boswell and Bill O'Chee said today. The call follows an Estimates hearing last night which left many matters unanswered.

"Many of the statements the Prime Minister's office have made do not correspond to other information in AQIS documents," National Party Senate Leader Ron Boswell said. '

"It is now time for the Prime Minister himself to make a full and complete written statement about all the issues raised in the Parliament so that they can be properly analysed and dealt with."

R E L E A

S E

Among the matters Mr. Keating should explain are -

When he first became interested in acquiring an interest in'Brown and Hatton, the Australian joint venture partner of the Danish company Danpork.

* When Brown and Hatton first began discussions with Danpork over the proposed joint venture.

* Whether Senator Button's statement to the Senate that the joint venture had contacted AQIS was correct.

* How he explained contact between AQIS officers and members of the Danpork Board of Directors in light of the above.

* Whether it was correct that he had a financial interest, through Brown and Hatton, in the joint venture during 1991/92 when an AQIS cablegram disclosed the joint venture to be the reason why review of the ban on importing genetic material had been made a high priority.

Enquiries - Canberra Tel. (06) 211324·4 Brisbane Tel. (01) 864 8880

The full contents of his discussions with Mr. Ole Jacobsen the Chairman of the Danish meat conglomerate Danpork in 1990 and why Mr. Jacobsen would make such a visit on him.

Details of all discussions or correspondence either he or persons associated with him (including the directors of Brown and Hatton) had had with Danpork or the Federation of Danish Industries.

The growing affair over the Danpork joint venture was not helped by a poor performance by AQIS officers at last night's Estimates hearing.

"First we were treated to a tirade of irrational abuse from Senator Cook followed by the extraordinary spectacle of the Minister and a Director of AQIS going through what was later admitted to be a rehearsed question and answer session," Senator O'Chee said.

"Then we were asked to believe that three very senior AQIS officers could write a letter to the Pork Council of Australia saying there had been Prime Ministerial involvement in the issue in 1990, but none of them could recollect how or why the reference appeared in the letter."

E N D S : 18 S E P T E M B E R , 1992

Further information: Senator Ron Boswell

Senator Bill O'Chee

277 3244 (06) 864 8880 (07) 396 5482 (07) (h) 277 3922 (06)

864 8086 (07) 886 686 (018)

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i7. HOWEVER, CARE SHOULD BE TAKEN DURING D I S C U S S I O N S WITH DANISH AND EC AUTH ORIT IES BECAUSE I S S U E S ASSOCIATED WITH IM P O R T S OF PIGMEAT (PARTICULARLY WHEN EXPORT PRODUCTION I S S U B S I D I S E D ) AND WITH QUARANTINE RISK ASSESSMENT PRO CESSES ARE POLITICALLY SENSITIVE. AQIS IS OBLIGED TO CONSULT WIDELY REGARDING ITS QUARANTINE RISK ASSESSMENTS PR IO R TO MAKING D E C IS IO N S .8. IN VIEW OF THE NECESSARY ASSESSMENT· AND CONSULTATIVE PROCEDURES, IT WOULD BE UNREALISTIC TO CONVEY AN UNQUALIFIED I M P R E S S I O N THAT AQIS MAY BE ABLE TO RAPIDLY REACH A P O S I T I O N ON THIS I S S U E , PARTICULARLY WHILE FURTHER INFORMATION I S NECESSARY TO ADEQUATELY SUPPORT THE RISK ASSESSMENT, CONSULTATION AND D E C IS IO N MAKING P R O C E S S E S .CM. DOYLE DPIE 7 . 7 . 9 2 272 4 5 4 5o 2> H O oo 2 2c2 O> H O2CO2m t O33 X , " \ T I O N : D E P F O R E I G N + T R A D E D . P . I . E . C A B L E S . D E P P R I M I N D & E N E R G Y A U S T R A D E P R I M E M I N I S T E R M I N E M P E D U & T N G D E P P M A N D C A B I N E T P R I M & E N E R G Y ( A Q I S ) D I O T / T P A R L S E C ( F A + T ) M I N F O R E I G N + T R A D E M I N P R I M I N D & E N E R G Y D E P T R E A S U R Y T / T A B A R E D R . A S H T O N C A L V E R T M I N T D E O S E A S D E V T D E P I N D T E C H + C O M M O N A I A C T R A N S P O R T + C O MM\

AUSTRALIAN QUARANTINE AND INSPECTION SERVICE ω **λ*7μςη7 or « ο μ α λ υ M X T n u z j s a n d ex e x c y

Think you for your letter of 21 May 1992. As discussed with your office we a n mjVr 1 meeting on Friday 17 July although not Wednesday 15 July.

Concerning your enquiries in million to Denmark we have nude no secret of the fact that formal requests have been received regularly from Denmark since the late 1970's/early 1980’s. "

Pig meat

AQtS has responded to date by pointing out that Australia does oot permit uncooked pig meat to enter from countries affected by Aujeszky's disease. However, Australia has also been a strong advocate internationally of regionalisation with respect to disease freedom where adequate evidence exists to demonstrate that diseases ait environmentally restricted to certain regions (eg in the case of some insect-borne diseases) or where domestic veterinary disease control measures have been effective in confining disease to certain regions over many years. In Denmark domestic disease controls have successfully confined the periodic windbome incursions of A ajeo k /s disease to the

southern border fringe adjacent to Germany. Herds found infected in early 1991 have been slaughtered out and there has been no evidence of the disease since then. This rofleets the success of a joint Denmaric/Gennan vaccination program in Germany aloog its border with Denmark.

Pig Semen

In the case of semen, the issues previously raised by AQI5 have Included AujcszJc/s disease and porcine respiratory coronaviniscs (PRCYs). Sound diagnostic tests for Aujcsky’s disease are available for donors of semen.

EDMUND BARTON* BUILDING BARTON ACT

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The currtnr serological teats /or TGE cross-react strongly with PRCV'g uvd may be applied to dooon to effectively exclude animals that have been exposed. However, some concern sell exists with respect to the PRCVs because these viruses are widespread in the Dirush pig herd and it may be difficult to get donors and/or artificial breeding centres

that art free from the virus u sources for semen imports. The concern regarding PRCY’s is mainly due to their cross-reactivity with the TGE test rather than their potential to cause disease. Sc we would not wish to Introduce an agent which could be confuted with TGE into the national pig herd.

X* rf^ •Porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome (PRRS) has recently emerged u an issue with respect ids pig semen. AQLS is of the view that is semen is directly expo ted to pigs, the ctinrnt level of information diagnostic methods docs not enable as to establish the ' safety όΓsemen from infected countries. This is because of the class of virus involved

with PRRS and of the limited validation of serological tests for the disease. Very recent (as yet unconfirmed) reports from the Central Veterinary Laboratory. Weybridgc in the UK that thd-PRRS virus is present in semen from some affected cases for u least 1 week after infection appear to support AQIS* conservatism with respect to semen.

PRRS hi* been recorded only in the southern border fringe of Denmark adjacent to Germany, but it is currently too early to assess the veracity of domestic veterinary controls and their success in containing infection to that zone.

Live Pigs

The Danes first raised the poasihUiry o f iccesx for live tHgs in the mid 1980's. This request was not formally foUowcdrijffuntil 1990 when itrc-emerged u an issue at Prime Ministerial level in thp-ctfntext of proposals for a joint venture between Danish and

Australian pig breeding and processing interests. AQIS^Cooccms regarding live pigs ire the same as ihote associated with pig semen. In adejidtin TrichineUotis has not been recorded in Denmark since 1929 and alrroupertalnly does not constitute a significant additional ruio·^ ___ _____ ____ _

Although the AQIS concerns in terms of diseases are essentially the same for live pigs as they are for pig semen especially in relation to PRRS. the degree of concern must be greater In the case of live animals./A t present AQIS does not support the import directly into piftgcriesjepirdless of primary post-arrival quarantine requirements. If imports tfentahead our preference would be thaTaff imported live pigs should be held In Porcine ! Quarantine Reproduction Centres (PQRCs^after satisfying all necessary pre-export and

primary post-arrival quarantine requirements. PQRCr would remain under permanent quarantine surveillance and would be well isolated frxxn other pig breeding establishments. Only semen, embryos and/or caesarian*borne piglco would be permitted

to be removed from these centres for breeding in other piggeries.

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General Issues

A significant issue applicable to the importation of pig meat, semen and live pigs will be the impact of the EC open border policy. We arc keeping a close eye oo developments in this area.

Having regard to Government to Government discussions over the year* and in particular recent Minister to Minister discussions it will be necessary to give some priority to the longstanding Danish requests. With regard to new generic material it would be useful to gain an appreciation o f whether there is any demand from the pig industry in this area

from any member country of the European Community as it may be that this aspect is better handled oo a Co mm unity basts.

Notwithstanding Ac need to give some priority to the Danish requests, the risk assessmcntAiccirion making process when commenced will be conducted in a consultative and transparent way with industry.

We will be happy to explore these issues further with the Pork Council on 17 July. Prior to this meeting we wilt forward my material received from the Minnesota Symposium in relation to PRRS. *------ -------- ------------ *

Yours sincerel

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