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Wednesday, 1 September 1993
Page: 769

Senator BOSWELL —My question is addressed to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. In view of the actions of the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the government in not speaking to Mr Crean, the Minister for Primary Industries and Energy, and not allowing him any look-in in the budget, leading to his allegations of a conspiracy against him over the wine tax, and in view of the fact that Mr Crean is meant to represent primary industry, the nation's major export earner, I ask the minister: as the minister for primary industries is being made even more ineffective than he already was by the Prime Minister's no talk, no consultation approach, in the long-term interest of primary industry and the continued good health of the Australian wine industry, will the Prime Minister replace Minister Crean with someone as minister that he and the Treasurer will talk to and consult with?

Senator GARETH EVANS —Mr President, Senator Boswell ought to take notice of that old nostrum that Reg Withers used to enunciate in here on so many occasions: do not believe everything you read in the newspapers. Senator Boswell will get a terribly distorted and cock-eyed view of the world if he does. Simon Crean is a big, tough, strong boy; he can look after himself and, at the same time, look after the interests of all those many, many constituencies that he has responsibility for. He is an extremely effective minister. He has been totally on top of his portfolio. He has done a brilliant job in advancing and articulating the interests of all those different constituencies even if, on occasion, he is confronted with rather graceless commentary of the kind that Senator Boswell has just offered.