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Tuesday, 25 June 1996
Page: 2131


Senator CALVERT(4.44 p.m.) —I did wish to say a few words on this matter, but as my colleague the Manager of Government Business in the Senate, Senator Kemp, said, in the words of Inspector Clouseau, this is not the place nor the time. I will mention the fact that in the press release that was put out today by the Australian National Audit Office, the response to objective 2 makes the point that there is little knowledge about Commonwealth fishery habitats, nurseries and the environmental impact of commercial fishing.

I used to park my car at the wharves in Hobart and saw at first hand the fishing boats coming in. This was in the early days of the discovery of the stocks of orange roughy. I was shocked and horrified to see how some of the fishermen obviously overfished that resource and the amount of waste that went on—the number of fish that were thrown on the tip because they could not be processed, all because of the greed of one or two fishermen. The fact that they did not have any knowledge of how many fish were there soon became evident when the stock ran out. This has been happening since time immemorial and I think the point made by the Auditor-General is quite valid.

The other point I want to make is that I am certainly going to miss the comments and the contributions made by Senator Baume. As we know, there are rumours flying around that he will not be returning after we get up this week. In the nine years I have been here, on just about every Australian national audit report, no matter what the subject, you can always guarantee that Senator Baume has read it, studied it and made some very good comments on it. That has been one of the attributes that he has brought to this place. Now I will not need to say anything about what he has done when we come to the valedictories on Thursday. I seek leave to continue my remarks later.

Leave granted; debate adjourned.