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Tuesday, 22 June 1999
Page: 6986

Mr CREAN —My question is again to the Prime Minister. I refer to his previous answer—or non-answer—in relation to the member for Leichhardt, the Bob Jelly of the Far North.

Mr SPEAKER —The deputy leader will come to his question.

Mr CREAN —Is the Prime Minister aware that on 2 April this year the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources released a CSIRO study into the potential for restoring the East Trinity site to its natural state? Is he aware that, according to the Courier Mail , the parliamentary secretary used that report to argue:

The only economically viable option might be to allow NatWest to go ahead with its . . . development plans.

Is he aware that this argument did not reflect the findings of the CSIRO report, which stated:

It is likely that viable management strategies are available for rehabilitation, including reflooding, however, these would require further research.

Prime Minister, isn't that a conflict of interest?

Mr HOWARD (Prime Minister) —The answer to the first part of the question is no. The answer to the second part of the question is the same as the answer I gave to the earlier question—that is, I will analyse it.

Mr Speaker, while I am on my feet, could I add to an answer that I gave earlier in question time when I spoke of the benefits of the social bonus from the sale of 16 per cent of Telstra?

Opposition members interjecting

Mr HOWARD —Well? I am on my feet, Mr Speaker.

Opposition members interjecting

Mr SPEAKER —I will respond to the Prime Minister when I can be heard.

Ms Hoare —That is appalling.

Mr SPEAKER —The member for Charlton has already been warned. I had felt it would not be inappropriate since the Prime Minister's answer to the last question had been so brief for him to add to that answer, but I concede that it is appropriate to add to the answer at the end of question time. I will invite him to do so then.