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Thursday, 25 May 1989
Page: 2758

Senator WALSH (Minister for Finance)(9.20) —Prima facie I think it probably is possible but if the tenderer tries to exploit that potential advantage too much a government always has the option of saying, `We will not accept this tender because you people are coming the raw prawn and we will take one of the others'.

In the case to which I refer and which I know a good deal about-the Westpac case-that was no realistic alternative other than to do what was done. There were many matters of fine detail and it would not have been a practical proposition to discuss them with all the people who had put in a tender. That would have probably strung the whole process out for another six or 12 months. I expect that was a significantly more complicated deal than the Antarctic ship project is likely to be. Senator Puplick asked whether it was normal. I do not know what is normal, but it is certainly not unprecedented.