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Thursday, 18 February 1971

Senator MURPHY - Perhaps the Minister for Supply could enlighten us a little further on this aspect. Either the contract has been agreed upon or it has not. Per haps the Minister will indicate whether the Government has commited itself. If it has and the contract price has been agreed upon morally, whether documents have been actually signed or not and even if there is no agreement as yet on the sale, why should the Senate not be told about it? If that point has not been reached, why should we not know that also? Why should not the whole matter be ventilated so that the Government might be given the opportunity to make purchases elsewhere on more advantageous terms or perhaps to use its own aircraft? Why should we not be told what the real position is?


In his private capacity as a lawyer. Senator Murphy would-

Senator Murphy - That has nothing to do with it.


I am not being personal or difficult over this. I think Senator Murphy would appreciate that in any transaction a certain time may elapse between an agreement to purchase and the completion of a transaction. My understanding is that there is an agreement to purchase.

Senator Murphy - Why can we not be told?

Senator Sir KENNETH ANDERSON - 1 am sure that everybody would concede that an agreement to purchase is one thing and the completion of a transaction is another. No purchaser or seller in any transaction - I think Senator Murphy would agree with this - would have the right to disclose the terms and conditions of the transaction until it was completed. That is a normal procedure.

Senator Murphy - If you are asking me my answer is that I would not agree with that.


If I asked the honourable senator at a different level perhaps he might agree with me. But my clear understanding of the matter is that an agreement has been entered into and the documentation is proceeding.


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