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Tuesday, 30 August 1994
Page: 590


Senator VANSTONE (4.47 p.m.) —The Evidence and Procedure (New Zealand) Bill 1993 implements arrangements that have been agreed with New Zealand to facilitate obtaining evidence from New Zealand for use in Australian proceedings and from Australia for use in New Zealand proceedings; and, further, to facilitate proof of each country's laws and official acts and documents. Arrangements similar to those contained in this bill were implemented in 1990 in relation to a very narrow range of anti-trust cases. Those provisions will be applied in a much broader context to reflect the close relationship between Australia and New Zealand.

  The bill is divided into a number of parts. Part 1 is just a preliminary part; part 2 deals with Australian subpoenas; part 3 deals with New Zealand subpoenas; part 4 deals with the use of video links in Australian proceedings; part 5 with the use of video links in New Zealand proceedings; part 6 deals with evidence of New Zealand matters; and part 7 is simply concerned with miscellaneous matters.

  The coalition does not oppose these bills. It is obviously of great benefit, given the trans-Tasman relationship, if the cost of justice can be brought down in any reasonable way—and we believe that this is reasonable. There have been some amendments moved and agreed to in the other House, and they are not disagreed with here.

  There has been some misunderstanding amongst people who have been at the edge of this, if you like, with general comments on things they have heard. There has been some misunderstanding that somehow New Zealand law will apply here, or whatever. That is simply not the case. This is just a very functional bill designed to make it easier, as I say, to obtain evidence from New Zealand in Australian proceedings and vice-versa. The coalition does not oppose the bill. Also, I would ask whether there will be any amendments moved by the Australian Democrats in the committee stage of this bill.