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Thursday, 13 September 2007
Page: 58

Senator MASON (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Health and Ageing) (1:09 PM) —I would like to thank the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs for their work inquiring into and reporting on the bill. I note that Senator Murray was a participating member on that inquiry and I thank him for his service. The International Trade Integrity Bill 2007 will improve the way in which Australian agencies administer United Nations sanctions and introduce harsher penalties and tighter restrictions for any who attempt to contravene these sanctions.

The bill stems largely from the first three recommendations, as Senator Murray said, made in the report of the inquiry into certain Australian companies in relation to the Iraq oil for food program, better known as the Cole inquiry. This response, tabled only six months after Commissioner Cole published his report, indicates the government’s continued commitment to addressing the issues raised in the inquiry and ensuring lawful, ethical dealings in all Australian trade.

The government remains committed to ensuring Australian businesses uphold our country’s international obligations in relation to trade sanctions and combating foreign bribery. This bill re-affirms the government’s commitment to these goals and sends a clear message that contravention of United Nations sanctions and bribery of foreign officials simply will not be tolerated. In conjunction with other efforts by the government to raise awareness of international trade obligations, these amendments will encourage a culture of ethical dealing in Australian business that will improve Australia’s excellent reputation in international trade. I commend the bill to the Senate.

Question agreed to.

Bill read a second time.