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Monday, 24 May 1993
Page: 1132

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (9.47 p.m.) —I acknowledge the force of the points that Senator Crane has made. I think some of his concerns were answered to some extent by Senator Cook during the second stage of the estimates committee hearings on 12 May. That has been supplemented by various pieces of written information.

  So far as Austrade is concerned, there has been a written answer relating to Senator Crane's question on page 123 of Hansard about Australian penetration of the wool market and again on the coordination of Austrade with the Wool Realisation Commission. In relation to the question he asked on page A74 of Hansard, he has had a detailed written response in terms of the nature and extent of the expertise that we put into our wool marketing effort in Asia.

  I am able to advise Senator Crane further that my department has set up an internal task force to coordinate the department's efforts to promote Australian wool sales overseas, recognising that that expertise is somewhat scattered around the various geographical parts of the department and there may well be a need to gather together the threads, as it were, in this way. That particular task group will be meeting tomorrow with representatives from DPIE and Austrade to put together that kind of coordinated information base and the beginnings of a strategy.

Senator Crane —Before me or after me?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Post hoc, ergo propter hoc is what they say. A gentleman does not have to know Latin, but he should at least have forgotten it. The points that Senator Crane made have been well made; they have certainly been picked up and responded to by the department. There is a scattering of expertise because of the very scattered nature of the markets that have existed in this respect. We will do our best to coordinate that, perhaps in a better fashion, in the future. A lot of this will depend on the Garnaut committee exercise, and it is out of that that I guess we will be getting our most substantial effort flowing in the months ahead. It is a crucial industry and we are very conscious of the points that have been raised. I hope that does something to alleviate Senator Crane's concerns.