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Tuesday, 12 November 1985
Page: 2021


Senator JONES(10.37) — Tonight I want to set the record straight in relation to notices of motion given by Senator Boswell and Senator MacGibbon. It appears that they attempted, in a very shabby manner, to attack the Government and put forward a whole lot of complicated facts to suit their argument. The first part of the motion, notice of which was given by Senator Boswell, stated:

That the Senate-

(a) notes with deep regret the demise of the Camelia Restaurant, Brisbane's oldest licensed restaurant, that will close its doors at 12 p.m. today, may it `rest in peace';

The principle behind the notice of motion given by Senator Boswell was to attack the Government and make out that the restaurant was closing because of the Government's tax package. He said that the restaurant would close its doors at 12 noon on Friday, but what he did not say, but what he knew, was that the restaurant would open its doors again on Monday morning with another name, the same licensee developing a bistro in the same area rather than a restaurant. Following the notice of motion given by Senator Boswell I gave notice of a motion stating:

That the Senate congratulates the Camelia Restaurant on its endeavours to spend $1.5m in redeveloping in the Riverside development in Brisbane.

Senator MacGibbon gave notice of a motion stating that I had misled the Senate. That is totally incorrect. Senator MacGibbon told only the part of the truth that suited him. On reading through his notice of motion one sees that he told only part of the story. What he did not say was that there had been three owners of the Camelia Restaurant that had been operating for 33 years. The first owner was a Mr Carlos, the second owner was Mr Platsis and the third owner was Jack Allen, who gave up the ownership when he closed the restaurant at 12 noon on Friday.

Senator MacGibbon refers at the bottom of his notice of motion to Michael Platsis, the owner of Michaels Restaurant, who made the investment in the Riverside development, which he did. I did not say in my notice of motion that Jack Allen made the investment in the Riverside development, nor did I say that it was Michael Platsis. But I did not know those facts totally until after I looked into this matter. Senator MacGibbon, who was acting as Senator Boswell's apprentice, really knew those facts prior to giving notice of his motion in this place. I must say that, as an apprentice for Senator Boswell, he acted very badly. If I had his indentures, or if Senator Boswell had some say over his indentures, I think they should have been cancelled or removed at that time.

Senator Boswell spoke in the adjournment debate last night and read a telex from Mr Allen in which certain claims were made. Mr Allen claimed that he was closing the Camelia Restaurant because of the Government's policy of catching all the people who were having free lunches in the restaurant. He also went on to point out-this is different from what Senator MacGibbon said-that the investment in the Riverside development was made by Michael Platsis. But he did not say that Michael Platsis had been the previous owner prior to him being the owner of the Camelia Restaurant.

Let me take the matter a little further. Last week, on 3 November, an advertisement concerning the Camelia Restaurant was placed in the Sunday Mail. The advertisement under the heading `Closing forever' stated:

From Saturday 9th November this famous dining location is closing forever . . .'.

This is a total misrepresentation of the facts. The location was not closing. Although it was closing at noon on the Friday, on Monday Allen opened a bistro called Sardis. So he was again in business on the Monday. I think I would be inclined to have a look at the advertisement placed by Mr Allen and the fact that he closed the restaurant under these circumstances. I think it is worth mentioning that Des Patridge, in the column `Day by Day' in the Courier-Mail, said:

The newspaper advertisement on Sunday said that the Queen Street dining landmark, the Camelia restaurant, was `closing forever' from this Saturday.

But that's only as the Camelia, which opened 33 years ago, and which has already been a fashionable eatery.

The owner for the past three years, James Allen, says a new venture with a new marketing approach will be opening on the site, with a new name too, next week. That's all he's saying at this time.

They were the fact that were known to Senator MacGibbon. They were the facts that were given to him by Senator Boswell. Senator MacGibbon acted as a very poor apprentice in not accepting and putting down all the information.

The Courier-Mail of 25 October 1985 contains a statement that Mr Michael Platsis certainly made the investment in the Riverside development. This fact is admitted. The notices of motion given by Senator Boswell and Senator MacGibbon claim that some damage is being done to the restaurant industry in Queensland. The Courier-Mail of 3 November 1985 carries the headline `Milano and Merlo part company'. The article states:

Leading Brisbane restaurant Milano, in Queen Street, changed hands on Friday for a reputed $1,800,000.

The notices of motion concerning this industry were put down in an attempt to attack the Government. However, the total truth was not being told. Senator MacGibbon and Senator Boswell attacked the Government and said that this industry was in a dire situation. An article in the Courier-Mail of 9 November 1985 headed `$17m restaurant expansion' stated:

In the most substantial development of its type currently being undertaken in Australia, Denny's Restaurants plans a $17 million expansion program to develop outlets in all eastern States.

The article continued:

The expansion would make Denny's the fastest growing full service restaurant chain in Australia and would `enable us to sit nicely in the middle' of a market worth an estimated $3,800 million.

Mr Deputy President, I ask why Senator Boswell and Senator MacGibbon, who was his agent in this particular little episode, did not lay down all the facts and make the position very clear to the Senate. Instead, they tried to say that I misled the Senate when in actual fact they did not put forward all the facts.