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Monday, 29 May 1989
Page: 2935


Senator NEWMAN(8.01) —I thank the Minister. I would like to take him a bit further down the track about exemptions, and I quote from an internal Department of Defence document issued on 12 April this year, which says:

Exemptions from IBM. Grounds for exemptions are solutions from the contract, which after consultation with IBM are clearly unsuitable in terms of functionality, or time, or in terms of cost when considered in the context of the total costs of the project, as distinct from the price of the equipment. In these circumstances it will be necessary for the project manager to consult with IBM and would need a case demonstrating clear unsuitability of the IBM solution to warrant a non IBM solution. IBM agreement to this case should be sought although in unusual circumstances Defence might find cause to opt for a non IBM solution without IBM agreement.

In the light of the Minister's statement before dinner, that IBM Australia Ltd had no veto, or words to that effect, would not the advice which he received before dinner have to be considered to be quite inaccurate in the light of this quotation from this document of 12 April, `IBM agreement . . . should be sought although in unusual circumstances Defence might find cause to opt for a non-IBM solution without IBM agreement'? In other words, most times it has got to be with IBM agreement, except in very special circumstances.