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Wednesday, 19 March 1980
Page: 773

Senator RAE (TASMANIA) - My question is directed to the Acting Leader of the Government in the Senate and follows a question asked by Senator Tate in relation to the proposed Russian fishing invasion of Tasmania. I ask whether Senator Tate's reference to /,000 jobs was not a pie in the sky estimate on a multiplier basis, not of the direct employment which could conceivably have been created had the proposal gone ahead in its fullest possible way, but rather a matter of looking at all the supplementary service jobs which may or may not be created for the people who may be directly employed and who would probably number no more than 200 or 300. I ask also whether it is a fact that substitute proposals have been put forward and are being considered and whether they are not more definite and more beneficial to Tasmania than the Russian proposal. I ask further whether the interests of Tasmanian fishermen will be taken into account by the Government in any steps which it may take in relation to the carving up of Tasmania's fishing potential rather than handing over to the Russians the advantages which otherwise would be directly available to Tasmanians who do not seem to be being considered by Senator Tate and those who are complaining about what has happened in relation to the Russian proposal. Would it not have been more appropriate -

Senator Cavanagh - I raise a point of order, Mr President. I ask whether this is a question seeking information, or is just a tall, fishy story?

The PRESIDENT - The honourable senator will put his question in a forthright way and seek the information that he desires.

Senator Townley - Why don 't you start again.

Senator RAE - I reject the suggestion that I should start again.

The PRESIDENT - No, just put your question.

Senator RAE -I just ask: Would it not have been more appropriate in the interests of Tasmania had Senator Tate used his undoubted talents to assist the Tasmanian Labor Government to prepare its submission to the Commonwealth Grants Commission on a basis on which it could have substantiated the matters put forward, rather than raising the question of Russia, Afghanistan and fishing?

Senator Cavanagh - I raise another point of order, Mr President. How can a Minister in his reply say whether it is within the competence of the undoubted talents of Senator Tate to use his influence somewhere else? Is that a question?

The PRESIDENT - The Minister will reply to the areas which fall within his responsibility as Minister.

Senator DURACK - I really do not have any information to give in relation to this matter, apart from that provided in the answer that I gave to Senator Tate, although I am interested in some of the information that Senator Rae has provided in his question. I certainly want to emphasise the fact that I have no information and I do not know that there is any information available to the Government in relation to this claim of 1 ,000 jobs in prospect. As I said, it was all a very futuristic proposal and it depended upon a feasibility study. I will take note of the questions that Senator Rae has asked. I will refer them to the appropriate Minister and ask him to take account of them.

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