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Tuesday, 9 May 1989
Page: 2053


Senator HILL —I refer the Minister representing the Minister for Justice to the disappearance, off Sydney in November, of the schooner Patanela, which was on a voyage from Western Australia to Airlie Beach in Queensland. Is the Minister aware that the yacht's owner, Mr Alan Nicol, has complained of a lack of interest by both State police and Federal authorities in his attempts to discover the whereabouts of the yacht and, more importantly, the fate of the four people aboard the boat? What has been the involvement of the Australian Federal Police, or any other Federal authority or agency, in this mystery? Are police concerned for the safety of the four crew-skipper Ken Jones, his wife, Doreen, and young crewmen, Michael Calvin and John Blissett? Have law enforcement agencies in countries in the region been asked to maintain a watch for the boat, which was last heard from off Sydney on 8 November, in fine weather and moderate winds?


Senator BOLKUS —I have tried to see whether a brief is available to respond to Senator Hill's question. As the Senate knows, a number of specific questions are raised within the ambit of the overall question. I think that the best way to address the question is to obtain an answer and come back to the honourable senator either later today or tomorrow.