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Thursday, 18 November 1976

Mr ELLICOTT (WENTWORTH, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Attorney-General) - There has been, I understand, what is called a letter of request filed in the Supreme Court of New South Wales which seeks evidence, including documents and oral evidence, from Australian companies which are interested in uranium mining. I think the request originates from a suit in a court in the United States. The honourable gentleman is quite correct when he says that this is regulated by some procedure of the New South Wales jurisdiction. I think it is called the foreign tribunals evidence procedure. A procedure is laid down. This matter raises significant questions. For instance, there is the question as to whether in international law the United States anti-trust law does not travel too far because the anti-trust law of the United States not only extends to residents and corporations of the United States but also touches nonresidents. The serious question is raised by some people as to whether it does not go too far. Another question arises out of the fact that the Australian Government does have considerable power to fix, under the Customs (Prohibited Exports) Regulations, the terms and conditions upon which uranium, if it were exported from this country, would be so exported. The matter of whether such evidence should be produced is under consideration at the moment. I will see whether the answers to the questions which the honourable member has placed on notice can be expedited if they are not already on the way.

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