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Monday, 29 May 1989
Page: 2936

Senator RICHARDSON (Minister for the Arts, Sport, the Environment, Tourism and Territories)(8.09) —I do not think I can give that guarantee. We have to go back to the contract that has been negotiated with IBM. That does allow for future technologies to be included, provided of course they conform with DESINE. So I do not know how I can give a further undertaking other than that. But I want to comment on some of the matters that the honourable senator has raised. If she is looking at benefit to the Government, this tender process and its evaluation were very thorough. It conformed with the processes that were outlined by the Department of Administrative Services. The local content elements of the Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce that are insisted upon in these negotiations were looked at very thoroughly. At the end of all this it was the view that IBM was a clear and convincing winner. We must go back to that as the basis for the Government's actions since then. Obviously some of the companies that did not win, some of those that were on the outside looking in-I will not use President Johnson's analogy-have obviously been questioning the scope of the philosophy in the first place and its implementation. There is a suggestion that some of those companies are offering artificially low prices in a bid to undermine the original contract. Whatever is done from now on, however, obviously the Government will not be in a position to accept anything which would undermine the philosophy behind the decision.