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Monday, 4 June 1984
Page: 2428

Senator ARCHER(4.10) —It is difficult because, as the Minister is aware, present negotiations are being affected by whether there was some government involvement or whether the wishes of the Australian Government and/or the Indonesian Government were taken into account in what would otherwise be a commercial transaction. The dairy industry, in a report it produced for its benefit, made no bones about the fact that it had an offer of $US10m for its share. In the report the industry said:

The offer was extremely attractive from two points of view.

The report went on to say that it was negotiations and discussions on the part of the Australian Government which determined that that deal would not go ahead. That was a $10m deal, for which heads of agreement had been completed and a deposit was paid and is still being held. The dairy industry was certainly given to believe that that was not the deal that the Australian Government, either directly or indirectly from the point of view of the Indonesian Government, wanted to see put into place. All I really need to know is whether in fact any expression of opinion was sought or given as to whether there was a preference as to the purchaser of the Australian half share in PT Indomilk, whether this was transmitted by the Indonesians and whether it was sought by the Australians. I really believe that somewhere along the line somebody must know whether any impression has been given of some wish or desire on the part of either party.