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Thursday, 12 December 2002
Page: 7990


Senator COONAN (Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer) (9:16 PM) —It is important, in responding to Senator Ludwig's question, to make the point that the law of contract is not the usual or even perhaps the appropriate way to pursue an action for negligence. If the law of contract is varied by the statutory warranty provisions of the Trade Practices Act, as amended by this bill, and provides a more generous position, then plaintiffs will obviously seek a course of action under the Trade Practices Act rather than state law. What we are looking at here is a bit like a crack in the ground—water will follow a crack in the ground. What is proposed here is a situation where the Trade Practices Act is not an alternative route and contract is not an alternative route, whereas really the law of negligence ought to be the correct course of action in the way in which a minor would certainly be protected. I think that is the point that you were making and I think that is the appropriate response.