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Monday, 29 May 1989
Page: 2927

Senator MICHAEL BAUME(5.46) —I would also like to talk to this paper entitled Department of Administrative Service: External Consultants 1987-88. I certainly have no problems with the Department of Administrative Services, or the Government in general, getting the best advice and assistance it can get rather than trying to do everything in-house. I assume that that is the reason behind what appear to be substantial payments. For example, Colliers International Property Consultants Pty Ltd received a payment of $226,461 to assist the Government to dispose of the Commonwealth Centre in Sydney. It was not just a question of Hawkie ringing up Bondy and saying, `Do you want to buy my building?'. In fact, over $200,000 was spent on that matter. There is a great deal of merit in using professional people to assist the Government to act professionally.

However, some payments do interest me. For example, the Department of Administrative Services parliamentary services and information group paid $32,000 to Australian Nationwide Opinion Polls Pty Ltd (ANOP)-Mr Rod Cameron's company-for qualitative market research on the Australia Card. I do not think anyone in this chamber is unaware of the fact that Rod Cameron is a very close campaign adviser to the Australian Labor Party. The Australian Labor Party and the Government have a real duty to ensure that employment of people as close to them as this on such sensitive political matters as the Australia Card should be treated with far greater care than seems to have been the case here. It seems to me that this is really using $32,000 of Government money to get ANOP to provide what is simply political information to the Labor Party in fighting its campaign for the `Un-Australia Card', which fortunately was successfully resisted.

A couple of other payments interest me. For example, I see that Harry Seidler has gone fairly down market. I see he got paid $41,850 to provide a food service kiosk at Garden Island. I did not know that Mr Seidler's architecture firm was getting into food kiosks, particularly at such up-market places as Garden Island Dockyard.

On a much larger scale, there is no doubt that our representation overseas is costing a large amount of money in the way of architects' consultancy fees. On all the activity in Tokyo we lost something like $48m because of incompetence on foreign exchange. I mention that in passing. In the last financial year, an architectural firm involved with the redevelopment program in Tokyo was paid $2.9m. I do not know how big a task it has been but $2.9m is obviously a fairly large expenditure. Another $961,000 went to quantity surveyors, so that the total is almost $4m. Legal services took another $420,000 and various real estate advice cost $240,000. The Tokyo Embassy will cost an awful lot of money before a brick is laid.

In Beijing, the design and supervising architects received $1.9m last year. I do not necessarily criticise that expenditure. I believe that the people of Australia have every right to know it and I am glad that this report comes out. The people have every right to know where the money is going and whether that is what appeals to them. Another $19,456 was spent on redeveloping plans for the Anzac Rifle Range. I hoped they might have decided not to go ahead with that. Anyone who wants to read hundreds of pages of incredibly boring statistics will find some interesting examples of where this Government is spending his money. One can only hope that part of the Government's policy will be to reduce government expenditure.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT (Senator Colston) —Order! The honourable senator's time has expired.

Question resolved in the affirmative.