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Tuesday, 15 October 1996
Page: 4146

Senator SCHACHT —My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate and Minister representing the Prime Minister. Given that Senator Parer has outlined the benefits to the mining industry of a changed approach with regard to native title claims and the fact that Senator Minchin has responsibility in this area, will Senator Minchin not be a beneficiary, given his ownership of BHP shares? Has Senator Minchin had any involvement in the decisions regarding BHP's gas pipeline as they relate to native title claims?

Senator HILL —That just demonstrates how convoluted and twisted this debate has become. When Senator Cook was IR minister, he was a member of the Western Australian equivalent of the BLF. Was that legitimate? When former Prime Minister Keating was Treasurer, he set up a pig farm and borrowed from the Commonwealth Bank. Is that a conflict of interest? Former Senator Richardson was communications minister and the director of a radio station. These are much more direct conflicts of interest than any convoluted, twisted, artificial situation that you might create, Senator Schacht.