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Tuesday, 3 April 1984
Page: 1143


Senator BUTTON (Minister for Industry and Commerce and Minister Assisting the Minister for Communications)(9.40) —Briefly, in 1983 the Government inherited two things from the previous Government-an economic mess and a mess of planning in relation to the satellite. Both those problems had to be resolved. I suppose some of the Government's suggestions in 1983 were an attempt to sort out the economic mess at the expense of the most rational and sensible planning for the development of the satellite. It is important to remember that even in the 1983 proposal there were very serious strictures about public interest. The suggestion is that the Government changed it mind between 1983 and 1984 as a result of union pressure. The union pressure was for 100 per cent ownership of the satellite by Telecom Australia. If it is suggested that that led to the Government's decision, I doubt very much whether that could be described as a very good example of successful pressure. The decision made by the Government relates to and is reflected in this legislation. That is the matter we are debating here. On that basis the amendment is not acceptable.

Question put:

That the words proposed to be left out (Senator Peter Baume's amendment) be left out.