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Wednesday, 16 December 1992
Page: 5182

Senator MICHAEL BAUME (3.24 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

  That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Justice (Senator Tate), in response to a question without notice asked by Senator Baume this day, relating to the Prime Minister's investment in a piggery.

The Minister for Justice (Senator Tate) said that this matter of the piggeries of the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) is not one of substance because it has not been raised in the House of Representatives, apparently justifying the failure of the Government to ever answer substantially any matters of substance that I raise here and to instead depend entirely and basically on personal abuse.

  The fact is that this matter has been raised in the House of Representatives. Last month, Mr Bruce Lloyd made a detailed criticism of Mr Keating's piggeries' accounts. Mr Keating ducked the opportunity of responding to the detailed accusations made during that debate. I remind you, Mr Acting Deputy President, that in the House of Representatives questions run for about 15 seconds and replies go on for a quarter of an hour. So it is appropriate that matters of this kind are raised in debate in the House of Representatives as there is some kind of equal time.

  This matter was raised in the House of Representatives and the Prime Minister ducked it. He did not respond. Mr Crean responded in part to some of the matters that had been raised here by Senator Boswell and Senator O'Chee. But the fact is that the Prime Minister ducked responding because he has no response of substance. He has never responded, and a response has never been given in this place by the people who represent him.

  The fact is that there was no media criticism of Mr Keating's refusal to respond. There is substance in the Prime Minister's piggery issue. There is a genuine scandal about companies getting away with filing incorrect company returns in breach of the ASC requirements. Nothing was done about correcting those breaches until I reported them to this Parliament and the Australian Securities Commission determined, on the basis of the information provided to this Parliament, to carry out an investigation and to require those companies to correct the returns that had those breaches in them.

  There is substance to this matter. It seems to me extraordinary that, according to the view of the media, the substance does not matter but the particular theatre in which the substance is presented does. That is intellectual nonsense.

Senator Collins —Yesterday they were saying the Canberra Times was the greatest paper ever.

Senator MICHAEL BAUME —That is a pathetic attempt to develop in some instances a justification for the failure of the media of Australia, with the honourable exception of the Canberra Times and a couple of others which I must commend, to print the facts and the substance of this matter or to defend their failure to do so. However, the Canberra Times has not failed to detail it. (Time expired)