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Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee
04/05/2015
Commonwealth's treaty-making process

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HEPWORTH, Ms Patricia Ruth, Executive Officer, Australian Digital Alliance

McKERRACHER, Ms Sue, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Library and Information Association

Committee met at 13:50

CHAIR ( Senator Gallacher ): I declare open this public hearing of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee in relation to the committee's inquiry into the Commonwealth's treaty-making process. Copies of the committee's terms of reference are available from the secretariat.

I welcome everyone here today. This is a public hearing, and a Hansard transcript of proceedings is being made. Before the committee starts taking evidence, I remind all witnesses that, in giving evidence to the committee, they are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of the evidence given to a committee, and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee.

I would like to emphasise that, while the committee prefers all evidence to be given in public, under the Senate's resolutions witnesses have the right to request to be heard in private session. If you would like any of your evidence to be heard in camera, please do not hesitate to let the committee know. If a witness objects to answering a question, the witness should state the ground upon which the objection is taken and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer, having regard to the ground which is claimed. If the committee determines to insist on an answer, a witness may request that the answer be given in camera. As noted previously, such a request may be made at any other time.

I welcome the representatives from the Australian Digital Alliance and the Australian Library and Information Association. Do you have any comments to make on the capacity in which you appear?

Ms Hepworth : As well as being Executive Officer for the Australian Digital Alliance, I am the copyright and policy adviser for the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee.

Ms McKerracher : As well as being the Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Library and Information Association, I am a board member of the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee.

CHAIR: Would either of you like to make a brief opening statement before we go to questions?

Ms Hepworth : Firstly, thank you very much to the committee for holding this hearing and for inviting us along today. I appear today in a representative capacity for the Australian Digital Alliance, the ADA, and the Australian Libraries Copyright Committee, the ALCC. Both groups are copyright specialist groups. The Australian Libraries Copyright Committee has been the main consultative body and policy forum for the discussion of copyright issues affecting Australian libraries and archives for over 20 years. The Australian Digital Alliance was founded in 1998 by former High Court Justice Sir Anthony Mason as a platform for the wider discussion of balanced and flexible copyright law. It is a non-profit coalition, with members spanning education, cultural institutions, technology companies and organisations assisting the blind and vision impaired. I am accompanied by Ms Sue McKerracher, the Executive Director of the Australian Library and Information Association, ALIA.

The ADA and ALCC have been engaged with the treaty-making process for a number of years. Our members have benefited from some of the gains of international level agreements, with education and technology in particular important export industries. The hopefully imminent ratification of the Marrakesh treaty for the blind and vision impaired will bring practical relief to those currently unable to access published works due to disability, and to our members who serve them. We thank the parliamentarians, public servants and stakeholders who have devoted time and effort to these agreements over the years and for all the hours and expertise that have brought benefits to Australia. However, we have also raised concerns, when appropriate, over the negative—sometimes apparently unintended—consequences flowing from international agreements, especially with regard to intellectual property provisions negotiated in the context of bilateral or regional trade deals.

Intellectual property obligations entered into under treaties have a significant and increasing impact on our domestic laws and legislative policy space. These obligations regulate the term of protection, prescribe criminal provisions, define the space available to make exceptions—in some cases preventing exceptions altogether—and have everyday effects on the ADA and ALCC members. As an example, the current situation where teachers in Australian schools face the choice between criminal liability or being able to caption DVDs for the hearing-impaired students is a direct result of the technological protection measure provisions in the Australia-US free trade agreement.

While recognising that international agreements are necessarily the outcome of negotiation, the ADA and ALCC have concerns that the framework for negotiating treaties is not optimal for properly assessing and balancing competing interests. The recommendations made in our submission—namely, a more informed approach when deciding the terms on which to enter negotiations, greater stakeholder engagement, improved parliamentary oversight and monitoring of the outcomes—are intended to strengthen the process.

The decision to enter into a negotiation should be made only after identifying Australia's strategic goals and risks. We would like to draw the committee's attention to the recent recommendation in the competition policy review, also known as the Harper review, for an independent review to assess the processes for establishing negotiating mandates to incorporate intellectual property provisions in international trade agreements.

Without a wish to duplicate processes, the ADA recommends that negotiations on sensitive subject matter, such as IP, should be included in international trade agreements only if there is an identifiable benefit to Australia in their inclusion. We would support development of an overarching framework for IP negotiations, periodically reviewable by parliamentary committee. The negotiation mandate and conditions of negotiation should be approved by JSCOT prior to negotiations commencing, and the priorities, objectives and anticipated costs and benefits of the treaty should be tabled in parliament before negotiations commence. These steps would support a principled, strategic approach to negotiations, democratic transparency and a consensus approach to international agreements.

During the negotiation period it is essential that the negotiations are informed by a cost-benefit analysis—one that is regularly reviewed. In the interests of transparency and to assist gathering of expertise, as much information as possible regarding matters under discussion should be made available, including releasing the negotiation text and position statements. At a bare minimum, text should be made available to parliamentarians, subject matter experts and stakeholders, including industry and civil society, with appropriate safeguards. These groups should never have less access to the text than the corresponding groups of our negotiation partners. The analysis of experts and stakeholders should inform the negotiations.

When the treaty is concluded, the JSCOT review should be aided by more comprehensive materials, including cost-benefit analysis used in the process of negotiation. Changes to our domestic legislation should be evaluated, as should any changes to the standard of our international commitments. Information as to the best way to implement treaty commitments to maximise benefit to Australia should also be included.

Australia is party to at least 16 interlocked and overlapping international agreements on copyright and is in the process of negotiating and ratifying several more. Well over 600 treaties have entered into force since 1996, yet there is currently no formal process to evaluate their impact and to feed those results into future negotiations. Periodic reviews which measure the effects of treaties and recommendations for how they could work more effectively should be carried out—preferably by an independent body such as the Productivity Commission. These reports should be available to JSCOT and other committees considering related treaties.

Decisions taken during the treaty-making process have a direct impact on cultural institutions, schools, universities, industry creators and all Australians. A greater, more strategic, open and transparent approach to the establishment, negotiation and review of our international agreements should bring great dividends.

CHAIR: Thank you. I will kick off questions. You mentioned parliamentary oversight, more stakeholder engagement and cost-benefit analysis. Australia has been making treaties for a century or more. What has changed that now, all of a sudden, we need these additional layers of consultation and examination? What is different?

Ms Hepworth : I will speak generally today about the area of copyright, because that is obviously—

CHAIR: Exactly, yes.

Ms Hepworth : the area that we have expertise in. In the area of copyright, there have been several changes to the way that copyright treaties have been negotiated over the years. Traditionally, copyright was decided in very open, transparent multilateral fora. It is a very complex, very involved subject matter; it was originally done in bodies such as WIPO and then the WTO, where all of these issues were very thoroughly and openly explored and thrashed out; and the eventual agreements were very easy to see as a cohesive whole. The inclusion of a very complex subject matter such as copyright—and, I believe, from experts in other areas, increasing complexity in their subject matter as well—in trade agreements has definitely changed the focus of trade agreements and their impacts on Australia. I think that is one very important reason why these things have changed.

The secondary reason, I guess, is simply that, as processes go along and as we are increasingly entering into more agreements, these matters also become more problematic and more complex. As with all things, even if we have done something one way for a long time, if there are problems starting to show up, it is probably a good time to stop, pause and review and make sure that we have the best processes, going forward.

CHAIR: Okay. I think you mentioned that you would seek examination by the Productivity Commission, and cost-benefit analysis—who would that be done by?

Ms Hepworth : Our preference, once again, would be that cost-benefit analysis be done by an independent body such as the Productivity Commission. If that is not possible, it could be done by, potentially, a department such as Treasury, who have the economic ability.

CHAIR: And you are saying that that would be tabled in parliament. But the reality is that the executive, if they have the numbers in parliament, would pass it. In the Westminster system, it is the prerogative of government to make treaties.

Ms Hepworth : Yes. It is the prerogative of the executive to enter into treaties, yes.

CHAIR: Who wants to go next? Peter.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Thank you. Ms Hepworth, you have called for greater transparency in the treaty-making process today and you have provided a number of examples. We have had some submissions, including from DFAT, that negotiations are best kept confidential; they are happy with the way things are. What do you see as the benefits of making negotiating texts public or making system more transparent?

Ms Hepworth : We see a number of benefits, obviously. What we have seen in the past, especially from our experiences under the AUSFTA and, more recently, the Korea-Australia Free Trade Agreement, is that at the end of the day, when these texts are made public, there is a sudden great outcry because there are an awful lot of very controversial things that were in the chapter that might have serious unintended consequences and that, sometimes, seem to have been overlooked by the DFAT negotiators themselves.

To draw upon the example of KAFTA for a second, when the national interest analysis and the regulatory impact statement were tabled, there was no indication that we had picked up or increased our international-level obligations in intellectual property. In fact, before a committee, DFAT said that they were not aware of any increased international obligations. In response to a question on notice, DFAT actually admitted that, yes, there had been an increase in a substantial number of international commitments, especially in the area of broadcasting. Now, I am not entirely sure of the processes there, but from an outsider's perspective it rather looks like there may have just been a mistake that would have been picked up if there were greater transparency in the process.

One of the other issues that we are particularly worried about is the way that the different chapters of, say, trade agreements interlock and relate to each other. We talk to DFAT quite a lot about our concerns and our member interests in relation to copyright. We do that mainly on the basis of the intellectual property chapter. However, each of the chapters is negotiated separately by different negotiating people, with one person overseeing them. But the relationships are so complex that, to be honest—with the absolutely greatest respect to the foreign affairs negotiating team—I am not sure that you would be able to catch all of the interrelations and the consistency issues between those different, incredibly complex chapters.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Can I just stop you there for a second, Ms Hepworth. In relation to those discussions that you have had with DFAT, can you give us an idea of what types of discussions you are talking about? Are these the consultations that the government has been referring to?

Ms Hepworth : We have participated both in the open fora and in various stakeholder meetings with the department.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: And you are comfortable that that level of consultations—well, you have just said that it is too complex, I suppose across something that is multifaceted like the TPP, but what about other investment treaties, like Marrakech, for example?

Ms Hepworth : Marrakech is a very different body because once again it is a WIPO treaty, so it was openly negotiated, so we always knew the whole way through what it was going to be. There are three more treaties currently underway at WIPO. There is a treaty on broadcasting; there is a treaty on exceptions for libraries and archives; and there is a treaty for education. All of those are openly negotiated and so cause us less concern.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Could I ask you, just as a matter of interest, about that. Would you think that was openly negotiated because it is essentially dealing with a public good—

Ms Hepworth : No, it is—

Senator WHISH-WILSON: whereas something like TPP has got commercial interests?

Ms Hepworth : It is a definite difference of fora. WIPO has always traditionally been openly negotiated, whereas trade agreements by tradition have certain levels of confidentiality around them. I would say that the level of confidentiality we see around TPP is not necessarily set in stone. I know that a number of submissions drew attention to the current experience of the European Union, who are currently negotiating TTIP with the US and have decided to make that process a lot more transparent, including publishing things such as their negotiation positions on intellectual property.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: In relation to an example of the independent analysis, I noticed that the Harper review made a couple of recommendations about IP in trade deals. Do you want to comment on whether you agreed with the recommendations of the Harper review, firstly, that something like IP probably should not be negotiated in trade agreements—or that, if it were to be, it would have to have a rigorous independent analysis? I suppose you already answered that. I am more interested in the first question, to be honest.

Ms Hepworth : The Harper review, as you probably know, made two central recommendations—potentially three—towards intellectual property and trade. One is that it wants a review basically into the setting of negotiation mandates for intellectual property in trade agreements. Our general theory on including intellectual property in trade agreements is that intellectual property should only be included in trade agreements if there is an overwhelming benefit to Australia in including that. That requires us being able to identify strategically interests that we may want to protect, defend or take benefit of with other parties, rather than just throwing it in as the default option.

The Harper review also recommended an overarching IP review, and they want to review intellectual property in trade agreements as part of that review. They also suggested that a cost-benefit analysis be done that informs negotiations. We are wholeheartedly in support of that. They would like that tabled after the negotiations are completed but before the agreement is actually signed, and we would also endorse that.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Ms McKerracher, feel free to chip in if you want to add anything to that.

Ms McKerracher : I would just like to add one thing. I think we also recognise the different environment within which negotiations are taking place. Thirty years ago it was possible to have a fairly confidential environment. With the arrival of the internet, with the explosion in social media, with the ways that people can speak instantly on an international scale now, I think any proposal that we put forward recognises that actually confidentiality is virtually unenforceable these days.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: That is an interesting aspect of it. Are you talking about WikiLeaks» in particular?

Ms McKerracher : I am talking about the world we all live in. We all know that whatever we do today is going to be across Facebook and social media and also linked to special interest groups. It is very hard to keep things confidential these days.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: So your argument would be to open it up to full transparency because it is going to become public anyway, or it will most likely be leaked?

Ms McKerracher : I think the pragmatic approach would be to contain, to manage, those messages rather than have them managed for you.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Have you got any suggestions, based on the extensive treaties that you have both been involved with, on how a multilateral trade deal like the TPP could be opened up for public consultation or for full transparency or partial transparency? Can you give the committee some examples, possibly, of other trade agreements? You mentioned one in Europe that is ongoing.

Ms Hepworth : Obviously there is the example of Europe at the moment. The other big examples, of course, are the wide and multilateral fora such as the WTO and WIPO. Definitely, looking to overseas examples is a really good step, but I think that potentially it would be better to start with some very broad based principles to things and have the ability to tailor them to specific circumstances. Even the setting of a negotiation mandate, obviously, is a negotiated outcome. But I think that, if you start with the principle that what we should be negotiating, even in that first thing, is to be able to negotiate to the most transparent standard possible, if we are negotiating with countries that have particular sensitivities and wish to keep particular chapters or particular offers confidential, we may have transparency over an entire agreement except for offers on tariffs or except for offers on something else. I think the flexibility to be able to do that would be quite important.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: I ask you this question because I know you are part of an apolitical organisation. We have had a submission, for example, from the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, which said they want more transparency because it depoliticises trade deals—in other words, it stops scaremongering. We have had other suggestions that opening it up to transparency would in fact increase the politicisation of it because people would have information to run on. Do you fall on either side of those camps?

Ms Hepworth : I think definitely that the more transparent you get—yes, for a lot of the criticism of deals such as, say, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, I would not say scaremongering but I would say legitimate concerns without a very good, solid basis. If you do not know what is actually being negotiated, there is a certain point where, as a stakeholder, you have to run on: 'Well, this could be the worst-case scenario. We've got to make sure that people know that this is going to be really bad if it's worst-case scenario.' As stakeholders, it leaves you in a really vulnerable position. I feel that especially with something such as IP in trade agreements, where obviously we do not have an issue with the wider trade agreement for us personally, but the IP chapter we find incredibly concerning.

And then there are issues such as the interplay. One of the things that we are particularly concerned about is the interplay between the intellectual property chapter and the investment chapter, for example. At the moment, in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, all we know, of course, is that there is an IP chapter and that there is an investment chapter. Looking at some of the investment chapters and IP chapters that have been in recent published agreements such as KAFTA, there is a very clear interplay between them. In KAFTA, for example, we had an ISDS provision that has a very wide definition of expropriation that definitely covers intellectual property but then seeks to sort of carve out an exception for intellectual property as long as it is implemented in accordance with the IP chapter. The practical effect of that is to make the IP chapter subject to ISDS.

There is some really good work that has been done by an academic called Sean Flynn, in Canada, who has looked extensively at some very similar wording that, if «WikiLeaks» is to be believed, may turn up in the Trans-Pacific Partnership. He has done an analysis that shows that, if that sort of interplay continues on, a lot of exceptions—including fair use, which has been obviously a very live recommendation recently for the Australian Law Reform Commission—could actually be threatened or challenged under an ISDS. As we represent bodies such as libraries and schools and universities, who see fair use as one of the most important copyright reforms that we could do in the next decade or so, the potential that there is a trade trigger that may take away our ability to implement that reform is, frankly, very scary.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: You made a point in your submission about evidence based decision making, and you have already talked about your independently prepared cost-benefit analysis. Then you mentioned that the national interest analyses, the NIAs, and regulatory impact statements should be more comprehensive. Can you give any examples there of why you think our national interest analysis is not comprehensive at the moment?

Ms Hepworth : The committee, I am sure, is reasonably familiar with the Korean national interest analysis and regulatory impact statement, so I might use that as an example. In the area of copyright, the national interest analysis and regulatory impact statements did not give any economic impact statement as to what they thought the value of the IP chapter was. They gave no indication of the economic impact of changes to either our domestic or our international commitments. They gave no detailed assessment of cultural or innovative impact or any impact on freedom of access to information or freedom of speech. None of that was included in those statements. They also put in there that we would have to change our domestic legislation and in that statement gave no indication as to costs or benefits of what that change is—and, in fact, gave no actual detail as to how we were going to have to change our legislation. So our experience on recent NIAs and RISs is that, even though they say they will give an economic, cultural and everything else overview, in reality the details of those are very sketchy and not at all adequate.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: It is a very important question, I think, for the committee because it was actually an improvement from previous Senate inquiries into trade processes going back over 20 years to include those with each trade deal. Are you suggesting that they are more a box-ticking exercise than real?

Ms Hepworth : I suspect there are probably some that are better than others. KAFTA may have potentially been a particularly bad example. But, yes, definitely, if you look at the actual figures that you got out of the IP chapter, of which there were none, there was no real analysis at all, so to us it did look quite a lot like a box-ticking exercise. Obviously, if you have a proper cost-benefit analysis that has informed negotiations, and you have an original negotiation mandate that had set out standards against which you could then cross-check your national interest analysis, and you have had more considered stakeholder and expert engagement, we would expect the quality of the NIA and the RISs to increase dramatically.

Ms McKerracher : I would just like to mention that we only found out the financial implications of the US fair trade agreement after the event, and that resulted in an $88 million cost to the nation. So we would certainly appreciate seeing that in advance.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: Could you give us that—

CHAIR: That is the copyright extension from 50 to 70 years?

Ms Hepworth : Yes.

CHAIR: Who is the organisation that advances the case for copyright extension from 50 to 70 years after death? Who runs that argument?

Ms Hepworth : That was definitely a push from the United States in our agreement.

CHAIR: But who? Is there an organisation that looks after people's copyright after death for 50 years?

Ms Hepworth : It goes to your estate, and there are organisations that are general collective bodies. But the general rule of thumb is that whoever the rights holder is will get money that flows through from copyright protection. It is just that length of protection that changed. For most things, we already had a period of copyright that was 50 years after death, so it was just an extra 20 years on top of that.

Ms McKerracher : At the risk of me misinterpreting your question, it is quite often referred to as the Walt Disney situation, because clearly it is in Walt Disney's interest to keep Mickey Mouse in copyright.

CHAIR: That is the answer I wanted. That is fine. So there are huge organisations with a vested interest extending their income for 20 years over their current 50?

Ms Hepworth : Yes.

Ms McKerracher : Absolutely.

CHAIR: And they have done that?

Ms McKerracher : Yes.

CHAIR: And they are American—

Ms Hepworth : Yes.

Ms McKerracher : Yes.

Senator BACK: For my information, can you assist me: do you believe that we now do have an effective and balanced IP system regime here in Australia, or are there fundamental issues inherent with it now?

Ms Hepworth : I believe even the Attorney-General, at the beginning of last year, called our current Copyright Act hopelessly outdated, and I would not disagree with that assessment. One of the biggest problems we have found in IP is that recently we have seen a lot of increase in enforcement and not nearly as much increase in flexibility, which has caused substantial difficulties and extra administrative burden and has curbed programs for educational and cultural institutions and all of those sorts of organisations, and the entire technology sector.

Senator BACK: So we have a need for increased flexibility?

Ms Hepworth : We have a definite need for increased flexibility, and at the moment there are a lot of very live reform proposals from bodies like the Australian Law Reform Commission and from various parliamentary inquiries that are basically waiting to be implemented and are going to be very necessary.

Senator BACK: So, would it be the case that, if Australia does not participate in the dialogue that heightens and tries to address this question flexibility, we are going to be left behind and end up being the victims of the work determined by others?

Ms Hepworth : Definitely. You have a situation in Australia at the moment where Google have said in submissions that they could never have started their search engine in Australia. So, if we want to be at the forefront of a knowledge economy, we need to be able to have that flexibility. If you look at our growing export industries, they are industries like education and technology that rely on flexibility in copyright.

Senator BACK: That is perhaps the nub of my question. With respect to the TPP, I think it is critically important that we are participants in that negotiation process, that we are at the table. Particularly as we are a country that relies so heavily on exports—including exports to countries that we hope to participate with at a TPP level but do not yet—I have a concern that if we are not at the table putting our viewpoint, negotiating and getting the best outcome for Australia, then it will be imposed on us. Is that a fair concern?

Ms Hepworth : Without that international agreement, we cannot have overseas standards of intellectual property just imposed upon us as such. Definitely, we should be at the table; I in no way ever want to suggest that we should not be actively negotiating for our interests in everything that we are currently negotiating. But I think we need to be a lot more strategic about how we are negotiating, especially in IP, and potentially even occasionally pushing back against requests from other nations to include IP and certain subsets of IP in agreements that would not be to our benefit.

Senator BACK: In the discussions I have had with Minister Robb, he has made it very clear to me that he does not intend to see a circumstance in which Australia's interests are in any way undermined or thwarted. I think you mentioned that you have had discussions with DFAT frequently.

Ms Hepworth : Yes.

Senator BACK: I think I have said that correctly. Do you feel you have been able to put that position of concern as accurately and eloquently as you can? Do you think there have been circumstances in which you have been ignored in that?

Ms Hepworth : We have definitely been able to put through all of our various concerns to DFAT. Our concerns are not currently with the ability to talk to the department of foreign affairs; they are more to do with the knowledge base from which we can do that—so, the fact that we do not have texts available, unless you take the unofficial versions on «WikiLeaks ! But we do not have some of the framework that would allow you to make the proper, expert analysis and make sure that you have actually picked up on all of the areas of concern. And our concern, on a broader scale, is that there may be stakeholders out there that are not even aware that their interests will be caught. Most people, when they hear there is a trade agreement, will not necessarily have thought to themselves, for example, 'Oh my goodness—I run a library; there is a trade agreement; this is going to mean I cannot digitise newspapers past 1955 anymore.' And I tell you: the libraries did not think that that was going to happen, when we knew that we were in negotiations for the Australia-US Free Trade Agreement. So, without a certain level of transparency, it is very difficult to know whether you do have interests that are going to be impacted upon.

Senator BACK: I do not know whether you are able to assist me or not, but why do you think it is that the WTO in negotiations in general have not been successful?

Ms Hepworth : I really feel that is probably well out of my scope of expertise!

Senator BACK: It just concerns me. The area in which I have a keen interest is not, I suppose, in IP, although it is in the copyright area, but it just seems as though it has not been a successful forum, has it, for negotiating and finalising agreements with countries?

Ms Hepworth : Honestly, the WTO is not my area of expertise at all. I could say, looking at similar situations, potentially, at WIPO, which I do know more about: you do see it as a forum for some of the broader geopolitical struggles that are going on at the moment, so you end up with giant blocks of nations that are potentially unwilling to give ground on certain matters. They can be very challenging environments; I will definitely admit that.

Senator BACK: Often the external influences—yes; that is perhaps one of the reasons. Thank you, Chair.

CHAIR: Thanks, Senator Back. We will have to move on after Senator Whish-Wilson.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: I just wanted to get on record Senator Back's comment that Minister Robb keeps mentioning he will not do anything not in Australia's interests; he means holistically in Australia's interests, right across the board, in terms of making trade-offs—IP versus more cows, or whatever it happens to be. I just think it is a bit tricky, that language. But my specific question was: you mentioned also in your submission that not all treaties will require this level of parliamentary oversight, stakeholder engagement and analysis. So some are controversial and others are not. How would you recommend the committee goes about it? If we are going to recommend changes to the treaty system, how would we determine what was controversial and what was not?

Ms Hepworth : DFAT has already got, as you would know, an internal ranking system for treaties, and so our recommendations in the submission were basically based on what they categorise as category 1 treaties; so they are significant treaties. Whether there is also scope at this point in time to go back and review how those categorisations occur is potentially within the scope of this committee, and we would definitely support that. But we would say: to be honest, anything that has an IP chapter in it we would think is probably going to be significant, just because the smallest changes to IP have such broad, wide-ranging effects on the entire economy.

Senator WHISH-WILSON: That will do me, Chair.

CHAIR: Thank you very much, Ms Hepworth and Ms McKerracher.