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Monday, 6 December 1993
Page: 3852

Senator PATTERSON (3.22 p.m.) —I also wish to take note of the answers given by the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Senator Gareth Evans). My colleagues have mentioned some of the larger businesses, but I was contacted at the end of last week by one small business which is located fairly close to my office and with which I have had association. It said that some exports it has been sending to Malaysia are in jeopardy because of the comments that have been made. In fact, the business will be dealt a $400,000 blow this year and possibly a $500,000 to $1 million blow in the following year.

  It said that it was negotiating some informal arrangements with the Malaysian authorities regarding some regulations for the importation of its product, that those had been progressing very satisfactorily but that they had gone quite cold. It is not only the big businesses at risk but also the smaller businesses, like the one that contacted me. In fact, it said that some five to 10 jobs in that business would be in jeopardy as a result of this.

  On behalf of that business, I ask that the government address this issue with urgency because smaller business as well as larger ones are suffering as a result of the rather ill-informed and somewhat off-the-cuff comments of the Prime Minister (Mr Keating).