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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2345


Senator VIGOR(12.27) —I wish to pursue the matter of how much of the defence budget is actually spent in Australia either directly or through the offsets program. I am particularly concerned at the need for affirmative action for Australian purchase. I was wondering whether the Minister could arrange for the tabling or incorporation in Hansard, if it is not too voluminous, of the latest version of the Department of Defence document entitled `Summary of prime contractors with outstanding offset obligations greater than $A1m'--


Senator Bolkus —Mr Temporary Chairman, I raise a point of order. I allude to the comments made by Senator Chipp this morning about vexatious use of Senate time. This point has been raised a number of times over the years, especially during Estimates committees. Mr Temporary Chairman, I put it to you that we do have a vexatious use of this process at the moment in that Senator Vigor, by very quick inquiry, could find this information through many sources. I think he is wasting our time and the time of the Parliament.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Colston) —Order! There is no point of order, but I would mention to Senator Vigor that he should really be addressing certain items within the votes that we have before us. It seems to me that the honourable senator's question ranges over the whole of the vote, but if he can get through it briefly I will probably turn a blind eye to it for a short time.


Senator VIGOR —The difficulty is that it does cover the whole of the vote as offsets can apply to all items purchased.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —That is what I was alluding to.


Senator VIGOR —The offsets program has had a number of problems over the years. I am particularly concerned at the current state of the unfulfilled offsets within the Defence Department and that information is no way readily available.