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Thursday, 27 June 1996
Page: 2387


Senator BOLKUS —My question is to the Leader of the Government. Has your attention been directed to an article in today's Courier-Mail in which Senator Chapman denies having entered into a $40,000 loan with a Hong Kong businessman with repayment cancelled on the same day? Are you aware that Senator Chapman has denied taking an all-expenses-paid trip to China in order to inspect an Inner Mongolian cashmere processing factory late in 1994? Further, are you aware that he has also denied a potential conflict of interest in promoting King Deer Cashmere Australia Pty Ltd by way of a press release two days before becoming a board member of that company? Would you agree that Senator Chapman himself has confirmed that there is an Australian Federal Police investigation into these matters? As the Leader of the Government in the Senate, will you ask Senator Chapman to stand aside as chairman of the Joint Standing Committee on Corporations and Securities until these matters are resolved?


Senator HILL —This sounds like the sort of muckraking that you used to be so indignant about from the other side as I recall, particularly hearing it often from Senator Bolkus. I regret to say, Senator Bolkus, I know nothing about those matters.


Senator BOLKUS —I find it incredible. This matter has been circulated very widely, including on the inside cover of the Senate news clips. As the Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Hill, you should have been advised. You are claiming the Downer defence, I suppose? Do you think it is appropriate for a Senator who is involved in investigations by the AFP for white-collar activities to chair the Joint Standing Committee on Corporations and Securities? Will you ask Senator Chapman to stand aside until these matters are resolved?


Senator HILL —This is a grubby attempt. Not only guilty before convicted but guilty before charged—that seems to me to be the way you are approaching this, Senator Bolkus. I said that I know nothing of this matter.


Senator Bolkus —What do you get paid for?


Senator HILL —I don't get paid for reading the Courier-Mail , for a start.


Senator Schacht —That is an insult to Queensland.


Senator HILL —I have not read the Courier-Mail today. I know nothing of these matters. Therefore, I see no basis for asking anyone to stand aside.