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Tuesday, 12 November 1985
Page: 1958

Senator WALTERS —What is the reaction of the Minister for Resources and Energy to the deal offered by the Australian Democrats to change their vote of last May when they opposed the Government's cash bidding for off-shore exploration legislation if the Government now accepts Mr Cohen's recommendation on Tasmanian woodchip export licences? Would the Government accept such an unprincipled, hypocritical deal which would destroy the Tasmanian timber industry?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Would that it were that easy. The Government is not in the business of accepting unprincipled and hypocritical deals or, indeed, any deals at all in that context. Despite some speculation to this effect, I assure the honourable senator that there are no deals and no guarantees. There have been discussions, as one might imagine, about a whole range of Government programs and policies. The Government's commitment is to act in accordance with the precepts of strict rationality on all these matters. I am sure that that is also the way that the Australian Democrats approach them. If occasionally our perceptions of rationality coincide, that is unusual, but it is a wholly desirable state of affairs when it does arise. I hope it arises in this instance, but it will not be as a result of anything of the kind that Senator Walters so sordidly suggests.