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Tuesday, 18 June 1996
Page: 1686

Senator FORSHAW —My question is directed to the Minister for Resources and Energy. Did the minister supply information to the Minerals Council of Australia relating to Australia's position on greenhouse gas emissions for the negotiations at the Geneva ministerial conference of the climate change convention? What were the nature and the status of the information supplied? Why was this information made available to the representatives of the mining industry, according to the Sydney Morning Herald report of 31 May 1996, prior to its consideration by cabinet, in breach of cabinet confidentiality?

Senator PARER —Let me first correct the statement that Senator Forshaw made at the end which if I do not people might believe; that is, that it was a breach of cabinet confi dentiality. Certainly in the lead-up to the discussions with regard to the greenhouse gases debate I met not just with the Mining Council but also with just about any other group within the community that had an interest in it. I met with the Electricity Supply Association, I met with the Gas Association, I met with the Mining Council and I met with the Coal Association, en masse. In those particular discussions there were no papers written, no letters were written to anybody in advance and no agendas were provided. A discussion paper was provided for that meeting.

Let me say quite categorically—all I am doing is repeating the words of the Prime Minister—that certainly I consulted with the industry. If I did not consult with the industry I would be criticised for not doing so. I also say that I intend to continue to consult with the industry.