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Wednesday, 27 November 1985
Page: 2357

Senator BROWNHILL —My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. I draw his attention to media reports of the New South Wales Government's contribution of $115,000 to the First Fleet Re-enactment Committee's $11m project to recreate the entire Plymouth to Sydney First Fleet voyage. The launching of this project was made yesterday by the New South Wales Premier and followed the cancellation of Saturday's launch by the Prime Minister of the Australian Bicentennial Authority's tall ships project launch. I ask the Minister: In light of the obvious conflict between two similar projects, what is now the status of the tall ships project and is the Federal Government likely to fund either or both of those projects? Does this mean that the Federal Government is all at sea with the Australian Bicentennial Authority or is it that it has no wind left in its sails?

Senator BUTTON —As we are going in for wet jokes, I remind the honourable senator that there is no such thing as a free launch. Perhaps that is why the Prime Minister did not proceed with that function last week. The answer to the substance of the question is that, as I understand it, the tall ships project is still proceeding. The Australian Bicentennial Authority is now under new chairmanship and it will be making announcements about its reviewed set of programs shortly. I imagine that the tall ships project will proceed. If I might volunteer a personal view, it may be possible to engineer some battle between the two fleets, and that might not be a bad thing.