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Thursday, 25 November 1993
Page: 3673


Senator HILL (Leader of the Opposition) (3.07 p.m.) —by leave—I move:

  That the Senate take note of the answer given by the Minister for Science and Small Business (Senator Schacht), to a question without notice asked by Senator Chapman this day, relating to the proposed Multifunction Polis.

I want to take a minute of the Senate's time to respond to the answer that Senator Schacht gave. I want to respond to his unprecedented threat to the people of South Australia—what one might call electoral blackmail. The minister said that if the incoming government in South Australia decided to put the MFP money where it should be—that is into the scientific research and the industrial application of that research—instead of wasting it in the swamp at Gillman, then he would perhaps withdraw Commonwealth funding for the project.

  That is an appalling threat that is certainly not in the best interests of South Australia. He ought to be ashamed to come in here and use electoral blackmail in that way. As a federal member, as a minister and as a South Australian senator, he should be saying, `I want to see that research money go into South Australia so that it can benefit South Australian scientific research and the industrial advancement that can come from that research'.

  The minister knows as well as I do that the Gillman site will simply absorb hundreds of millions of dollars. It is an unsuitable site and everybody knows that. The minister and the present Premier of South Australia are not prepared to face up to the reality. Instead the minister is choosing to threaten South Australia in the way he did today.

  Senator Schacht ought to be ashamed of himself. He has failed in his responsibility as a South Australian senator. Senator Schacht should do something to help South Australia develop and help it get out of the rut that it is in at the moment. He should do something to provide jobs for South Australia instead of constantly bagging it in this place.