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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
Page: 26048


Senator BROWN (6:22 PM) —That is not so. I want to mention the stringing out business. I am not stringing this out. This is one of the most important pieces of legislation you could have before a parliament like ours. I believe it is an abomination that every law in Australia, potentially, is in some way or other interrelated with this trade agreement but it will go outside the parliament and we will not be able to get it back in the future. This is our one opportunity. The fact that Labor is agreeing with the government on it means that it is left to the crossbench to debate it. Every matter we have brought up here is serious, has huge long-term ramifications and is going unsettled.

We are about to have a division on this Green amendment which gives some assurance that a whole range of concerns, yet to be determined in a deliberately vaguely written agreement, will not infringe the rights of this parliament and the people of Australia in matters of public health, safety and the environment in the future, and zero is being said by the Labor opposition. Yet there is no adequate guarantee, because there is none to be given, about these matters coming from the government.

Question put:

That the amendment (Senator Nettle's) be agreed to.