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Thursday, 27 November 1986
Page: 2879

Senator FOREMAN —Has the attention of the Minister for Finance been drawn to an article in the Adelaide News of 15 October reporting a call by the Liberal member for Mayo, Alexander Downer, for the Birdwood Mill to be designated the National Motor Museum with a commitment to future funding of $14.4m? What are the financial implications of such a forward commitment?

Senator WALSH —I am aware of the report to which Senator Foreman referred, particularly because, as has been accurately reported for once in the Press, I met Mr Downer in the members' bar last week. He has such a high profile that I did not recognise him as a member of the Australian Parliament and I thought he was one of the visiting English delegation. I take a particular interest in the matter, I suppose, because of that incident.

Essentially the question related to the amount of $14.4m which is being sought. It is very clear that that does not sit at all comfortably with Mr Downer's activities as a member of the so-called Waste Watch Committee. I can only assume that the reason for Mr Downer's inconsistency was either a desire to grab publicity for himself so that he might have a somewhat higher profile than he has previously had and so members of the Government might recognise him when they see him around Parliament House or, alternatively and I suspect more likely, the fact that the proposed national motor museum is located in his electorate.