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Monday, 4 September 1989
Page: 846


Senator SHORT —My question is to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Does the Minister agree with the Australian Tourism Research Institute estimates that the pilots dispute is costing the economy $36m a day? Does the Minister agree with his colleague the Minister for the Arts, Tourism and Territories, Mr Holding, that the Government could not justify considering compensation for the airlines without compensating the real and more innocent victims in the tourism industry? Thirdly, what would be the broad principles on which any assistance packages would be based?


Senator WALSH —I will not be replying to the last part of the question; it is a matter for the Cabinet to decide or not to decide at some future time. I had not seen the estimate of $36m a day. That comes out at something like $12 1/2 billion or $13 billion a year. It seems to me to be a bit fanciful, but I do not know on what basis it is supposed to have been calculated. I suppose that is the one that came from Sir Frank Moore, is it?


Senator Short —Yes.


Senator WALSH —I do know, of course, that Sir Frank Moore was the Chairman of the Queensland Tourist and Travel Corporation back in 1985. I am not sure whether he still holds that position. It was in that capacity that he hired Senator Stone to do some work for the Tourist Corporation prior to the 1985 National Taxation Summit. Perhaps the honourable senator might ask Senator Stone privately at some time whether he thinks $36m a day is a defensible figure. My own inclination is that it would not be. As for the rest of the question, a transcript that I have in front of me quotes the President of the Liberal Party, Mr Elliott, as saying that he does not support the pilots, and that he blames the centralised wage fixing system for the pilots dispute. He says that what the pilots should be doing is bargaining with the individual employers. I thought that that is what the pilots say they are doing now, and we can see what the consequences of it are.


Senator SHORT —Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. The Minister did not address what was the critical part of my question. I repeat it: Does the Minister agree with his colleague the Minister for the Arts, Tourism and Territories, Mr Holding, that the Government could not justify considering compensation for the airlines without compensating the real and more innocent victims of the tourism industry?


Senator WALSH —I did answer that part of the question, Mr President. I said that those issues will or will not be determined by Cabinet at some time in the future.