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Thursday, 5 December 1985
Page: 3063

Senator PUPLICK(5.50) —I will take only a moment to respond to a couple of the extraordinary remarks made by Senator Sanders. By way of interjection he dismissed the Treasury's Industries Assistance Commission claim as rubbish. The claim that the Treasury made before the IAC was that it would be `ludicrous' to believe that the savings alleged to occur as a result of inward duty free shopping would have any overall impact when we consider the total revenue forgone as a result of its introduction. For Senator Sanders to dismiss that Treasury statement as rubbish I think simply indicates that he has not read, studied or understood the Treasury's submission to the Industries Assistance Commission.

Senator Sanders's second point related to the alleged enormous fuel saving. Let me take him back to the September 1979 Bureau of Transport Economics report entitled `Inwards Duty-Free Shopping at Australian International Air Terminals: An economic evaluation'. Under the heading `Fuel Savings' it is said, among other things:

Allowing for these adjustments the estimate of total fuel cost saving ranges from $54,000 in 1980 to $163,000 in 1982. These savings are small and would be an insignificant part of the total operating costs of any international airline providing services into Australia.

Senator Sanders —A penny saved is a penny earned.

Senator PUPLICK —A penny saved is a penny earned, and a life lost as a result of increased drug smuggling is a life lost. Senator Sanders should stick to saving his grubby pennies and let the Opposition parties stick to trying to save young lives. Senator Sanders said for heavens sake, `this is going to make Australia a more attractive tourist destination'. He thinks that the ability to buy a bottle of liquor, 200 cigarettes and a small amount of perfume will make Australia a more attractive shopping destination. He thinks that people will sit on an aeroplane for hours and hours because it is more attractive to buy a bottle of liquor when they get to Sydney Airport. Those people will probably be coming from places where it is cheaper to buy in any case. Let Senator Sanders remember this: What has made Australian duty free shopping renowned throughout the world has been the phenomenal success of the off-airport duty free shops.

Senator Chipp —Most of them are rip-off merchants.

Senator PUPLICK —The very people who are the most likely to be affected by the introduction of inward duty free--

Senator Sanders —What quantities of booze do they sell at those shops?

Senator PUPLICK —In some cases about a third of their total income is made up from that. Senator Chipp says that most of them are rip-off merchants.

Senator Chipp —That is what I said, yes.

Senator PUPLICK —He did indeed. Let me take the honourable senator to the latest Choice survey. Perhaps he will have some respect for the survey done in the November 1985 Choice magazine. The report on that survey in the Australian for 9-10 November 1985 said:

An international survey of duty-free shopping has revealed that most Australian stores-except at Sydney Airport-compare favourably with European and Asian competitors.

Mr Temporary Chairman, I wish through you to address remarks to Senator Chipp, if Senator Button will yield his ear to me for one moment. I wish to address this remark to Senator Chipp, through the Temporary Chairman. The article-

Senator Archer —He is not interested.

Senator PUPLICK —He is not in the least bit interested in listening. The Australian article, having said how Australian duty free shopping was the best in the world, said:

`The only exception (was) Sydney Airport's duty-free which had noticeably higher alcohol and cigarette prices.'

They are the very people who are now to be given the sole monopoly concession in Sydney to sell cigarettes and tobacco. The only people who charge internationally high prices, who are genuine rip-off merchants-the people who are operating the store at Sydney Airport-are the people to whom this legislation gives the monopoly concession. All of the others, according to the article headed `Duty-free shopping', in Choice of November 1985, are demonstrated by international comparison to be among the cheapest in the world. I think the lack of logic in Senator Chipp's point is totally revealed.

I address a question to the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce (Senator Button). I ask him in his reply to indicate to the Committee what extra resources are to be made available to the Australian Customs Service for the surveillance of passengers in the inward duty-free shopping area. The last point I make is this: If Senator Chipp has any reputation in this chamber, it has been one of being very sensitive to the recommendations of the Bureau of Customs-now the Australian Customs Service-for what it believes to be in the interests of Australians in matters of narcotics control. Senator Chipp has a long-established reputation in this place for having paid the closest attention to the recommendations of the Customs Bureau. I appeal to him, therefore, not to go back on that reputation and to stick by the Customs Service in this matter. Consistently, in every inquiry, as shown in the report of the Bureau of Transport Economics, in interdepartmental committee reports, in the report of the Mahony Review of Customs Administration and Procedures and in the IAC report, Customs has pleaded with the Government not to introduce inward duty free shopping. I plead with Senator Chipp once again to give his support to the recommendations of the Australian Customs Service.