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Thursday, 17 October 2002
Page: 5429

Senator STOTT DESPOJA (5:10 PM) —I move Democrat amendment (5) on sheet 2599:

(5) Schedule 1, after item 9, page 4 (after line 21), insert:

9A After paragraph 18(d)


(da) the Minister is satisfied that all negotiations and agreements, if any, relating to the transfer of technology to Australia, are completed and the Minister is satisfied that Australia has sufficient access to technology and sufficient guarantees of technology transfer to ensure the development of a viable and independent space program in Australia.

I am a little disappointed that this one is not going to get opposition support. This relates to technology transfer. There has been much debate about this in the parliament and of course in the media. People have expressed today their concerns about ensuring that Australia is getting technology transferred as a consequence of the agreements and the negotiations we are having with the Russians. I would hope that this amendment, which seems more than reasonable, is supported and that basically we do not enter into agreements and negotiations or we do not inject money into construction and allocation of resources, for example, until those negotiations have been finalised, until we actually know what is going on.

I said in my remarks that I would be keen to get an update from the minister as to what the current status of those discussions and the technology transfer agreements is. Perhaps the minister can reassure me and my party that everything is fine. I think this is an appropriate amendment—that is, the minister has to be assured and satisfied that all negotiations and agreements relating to the transfer of technology to Australia are completed. Before we start constructing, we need to complete those arrangements and, of course, have sufficient guarantees to ensure that what we think we are getting we actually are getting as per these arrangements.