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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 333


Senator XENOPHON (South Australia) (16:06): I, and also on behalf of Senator Carr, move:

That the Senate:

(a) notes that:

   (i) on 9 November 2016 the Senate agreed to an order for production of documents directed at the Minister for Defence for the Design and Mobilisation Contract signed between the Commonwealth of Australia and DCNS on 30 September 2016;

   (ii) on 1 December 2016 the Minister for Defence tabled a redacted version of the Design and Mobilisation contract and asserted a public interest immunity claim over the redacted components, and in particular the intellectual property terms, on the basis that these terms were of significant commercial value and highly sensitive to DCNS,

   (iii) poorly negotiated intellectual property rights in Defence contracts both here and overseas have caused significant problems for the ongoing sustainment and enhancement of critical defence equipment, including:

(A) the contracted intellectual property rights for the Collins Class submarine became a significant issue in the ongoing sustainment and enhancement submarines and also in relation to the evolving of Collins as a potential solution for the future submarine project, and

(B) United States (US) Air Force Lieutenant General Christopher Bogdan, Head of the F-35 Fighter program, has publically expressed concern as to the adverse effect that not addressing intellectual property rights at the commencement of the Joint Strike Fighter program in the US is having on the ongoing sustainment and enhancement of the aircraft,

   (iv) the future submarine program involves a projected spend of $50 billion of taxpayers' money and the impact of the intellectual property rights on the entire program, including any potential follow-on submarine class, are significant,

   (v) there is an overwhelming and overriding public interest in respect of parliamentary oversight and scrutiny on the intellectual property terms associated with the future submarine program;

(b) does not accept the public interest immunity claim in relation to the contracted intellectual property terms of the Design and Mobilisation Contract signed between the Commonwealth of Australia and DCNS on 30 September 2016 made by the Minister for Defence in relation to the order for production of documents of 9 November 2016; and

(c) orders that there be laid on the table by the Minister for Defence, by the start of business on the next day of sitting, the intellectual property terms of the Design and Mobilisation Contract signed between the Commonwealth of Australia and DCNS on 30 September 2016.