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Monday, 3 March 2003
Page: 8885


Senator IAN CAMPBELL (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (5:57 PM) —I table a revised explanatory memorandum relating to the Sex Discrimination Amendment (Pregnancy and Work) Bill 2002 and move:

That these bills be now read a second time.

I seek leave to have the second reading speeches incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The speeches read as follows—

AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY CHEMICALS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL 2002

Since 1995, the Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments have operated a national umbrella to provide for the registration of agricultural and veterinary chemicals. The National Registration Scheme for Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (or NRS) has been established under Commonwealth legislation, and is underpinned by an administrative partnership with my state and territory agricultural counterparts.

The NRS has achieved remarkable gains in understanding the hazard and risks of agricultural and veterinary chemicals and influencing their management and use within the community, especially through rigorous scientific decision-making and better use of labels as a platform for safe and effective use.

As the NRS has developed, it has become apparent that a number of improvements could be made to the scheme to make it more efficient and effective. As the regulatory, governmental, community and industry stakeholders have become more confident in, and proficient with, the scheme, they have made, and continue to make, proposals for reform in terms of:

· the evaluation and management of the hazards and risks associated with the use of agricultural and veterinary chemicals; and

· the administrative processes through which applicants seek to have their chemical products evaluated, approved or registered prior to access to the market.

The Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Legislation Amendment Bill 2002 encompasses a number of reforms to the legislation under which the national scheme has been established, that is; the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Administration) Act 1992; the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Code Act 1994 and the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical Products (Collection of Levy Act) 1994).

Key aspects of the Bill include:

· the introduction of a new low regulatory option for the authorisation of chemicals in certain circumstances in line with the recommendation of the National Competition Policy Review undertaken on the agricultural and veterinary chemicals legislation;

· further elaboration of how the approval of labels for containers of chemical products is to be made;

· new processes to make amendment to labels for containers of chemical products easier;

· the expansion of the `deemed permits' mechanism providing a stronger regulatory framework to safely utilise stockpiles of chemicals that become unregistered; and

· several other minor amendments in terms of the administrative mechanisms for processing applications for approval of active constituents, registration of chemical products and approval of labels for containers.

The Howard Government has a well-established history of increasing efficiency and effectiveness in regulatory systems, while ensuring that appropriate standards and regulatory practice have been, and continue to be, maintained.

In terms of this scheme, that is, the regulation of agricultural and veterinary chemicals, Australia's traditionally rigorous and scientifically credible processes and standards, which ensure the health and safety of the community, the environment and our trade, continue to be maintained.

I believe that these reforms to the national scheme will facilitate a more efficient, more effective and responsive regime for the registration of agricultural and veterinary chemicals. They reduce unnecessary red tape, promote innovation and access to safe chemicals to those that need them, reduce business and regulatory costs, and generally reduce the administrative burden without compromising the health and safety standards we expect of the national registration scheme.

All State and Territory Governments have provided their agreement to the package of reforms provided in this Bill. They have done so because the reforms make good sense for public health and safety; good sense for the environment; and good sense for small and large businesses.

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CORPORATIONS AMENDMENT (REPAYMENT OF DIRECTORS' BONUSES) BILL 2002

Outline

This is a bill to amend the Corporations Act 2001 to permit liquidators to reclaim unreasonable payments made to the directors of insolvent companies.

The object of the bill is to assist in the restoration of funds, assets and other property to companies in liquidation for the benefit of employees and other creditors, where unreasonable payments have been made to directors in the lead-up to liquidation.

Background

In the wake of the collapse of One.Tel, the Government announced it intended to pursue an amendment to the Corporations Act to enable the recovery of bonuses paid to the directors of companies that later collapse. In this bill, the Government delivers on that commitment.

The Corporations Act already contains a range of measures, known as the voidable transaction provisions, that allow a liquidator access to moneys paid out by a company. The provisions permit the reversal of certain transactions entered into by an insolvent company in the lead-up to a liquidation. The Bankruptcy Act provides trustees with similar powers in relation to personal insolvency.

In certain limited circumstances, liquidators can attack payments made while a company is still solvent. This bill adds to these circumstances, by explicitly extending them to include unreasonable payments made to directors of companies.

The amendments cover transactions made to, on behalf of, or for the benefit of a director or close associate of a director. To be caught, the transaction must have been unreasonable, and entered into during the 4 years leading up to a company's liquidation, regardless of its solvency at the time the transaction occurred.

Provisions of the Bill

The main provision inserted by the bill is new section 588FDA, entitled “Unreasonable director-related transactions”.

Subsection 588FDA(1) outlines the kinds of company transactions caught by the bill. It targets transactions that a reasonable person in the company's circumstances would not have entered into.

The reasonableness of the transaction is determined with regard to a number of factors. They include the respective costs and benefits of the transaction to the company, and the benefits received by the recipient.

The meaning of `transactions' is broadly described to prevent avoidance. It includes a payment made by the company, as well as conveyances, transfers and other dispositions of property. It also includes the issue of securities, including options. Further, incurring an obligation to enter into any these transfers in the future would be a “transaction” for the purposes of the bill.

The focus of the bill is transactions entered into by the company with its directors, and accordingly the recipients covered by it include directors of the company.

The bill covers two further categories of person. It includes company transactions with close associates of a director. A `close associate' is defined under the bill to mean a relative or de facto spouse of a director, as well as the relative of a director's spouse or de facto spouse.

It will also apply to transactions entered into with third parties, where they are made on behalf of, or for the benefit of, either a director or close associate. This will prevent people avoiding the new provisions through restructuring or redirecting transactions.

Subsection 588FDA(2) provides that the reasonableness of entering into the transaction is determined at the time the company actually enters into the transaction, regardless of its reasonableness at the time the company incurred the obligation to enter the transaction. This enables liquidators to recover payments where the true magnitude of the unreasonableness involved only becomes apparent when the company actually makes the payment, even if it appeared reasonable at the time the company agreed to make the payment.

Under subsection 588FDA(3), a transaction may be caught by the new provision regardless of whether a creditor of the company is a party to the transaction, and even if the payment was made pursuant to a court order. This mirrors existing provisions in Part 5.7B in relation to uncommercial transactions entered into by an insolvent company (existing subsection 588FB(2)).

For the avoidance of constitutional doubt, the amendments will apply to unreasonable director-related transactions entered into on or after commencement of the bill. Subsection 588FE(1) is amended accordingly.

The bill provides that an unreasonable director-related transaction is voidable where it was entered into or given effect to within 4 years of the relation-back day. That day is usually the date of filing of an application to wind up the company, and is the usual point in time for measuring the reach of voidable transactions.

The Corporations Act already provides that the court may make a range of orders in relation to unreasonable director-related transactions. This bill makes it clear that the court may make these orders in relation to the unreasonable portion of the total transaction, taking into account the reasonable value (if any) that is attributable to it.

Approval of MINCO

In accordance with the Corporations Agreement, I can advise that the Government has consulted with the Ministerial Council for Corporations in relation to the bill. The Council provided the necessary approval for the text of the bill, as required under the Agreement for amendments on this kind.

Conclusion

This bill makes amendments that will provide a valuable addition to the existing range of powers available to the liquidators of insolvent companies. It permits the restoration of funds and property to a company for the benefit of employees and other creditors.

It also gives a strong statutory expression of the Government's intention that directors do not receive unreasonable remuneration particularly when creditors, employees and shareholders are at risk. Directors are in a better position than most to know the true state of affairs of the company in the short to medium term, and should not profit from this knowledge at the expense of employee and ordinary creditors.

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SNOWY HYDRO CORPORATISATION AMENDMENT BILL 2002

The purpose of the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Amendment Bill 2002 is to amend the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997.

The Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority was corporatised on 28 June 2002. The Commonwealth, New South Wales and Victorian governments are shareholders in the new company Snowy Hydro Limited.

To allow corporatisation of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Authority to proceed on 28 June 2002, the Commonwealth undertook, with the agreement of the New South Wales and Victorian governments, to introduce this bill to exempt certain transactions specified under the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 from the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The original intent conveyed in the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 was that all corporatisation transactions should be exempt from tax. This intent was overruled when A New Tax System (Goods and Services Tax) Act 1999 came into force. The amending legislation will ensure that the original intent is restored.

In accordance with A New Tax System (Commonwealth-State Financial Arrangements) Act 1999 and the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Reform of Commonwealth-State Financial Relations, the unanimous agreement of all State and Territory Treasurers is required before the amendment can be passed. The New South Wales and Victorian Treasurers have consulted and gained unanimous approval from their State and Territory colleagues on this amendment.

The proposed legislation will not affect the application of GST to any transactions and transfers other than those specifically required under the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997.

This amendment is solely for one-off transactions required under the Snowy Hydro Corporatisation Act 1997 and no significant or unforseen ramifications for GST revenue are expected from the amendment.

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SEX DISCRIMINATION AMENDMENT (PREGNANCY AND WORK) BILL 2002

The Sex Discrimination Amendment (Pregnancy and Work) Bill 2002 is the same in substance as the Sex Discrimination Amendment Bill (No.2) 2001, which the Attorney-General introduced into the House of Representatives on 27 September 2001.

With the calling of the election, that bill lapsed when the Parliament was prorogued.

This bill will clarify a number of provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 that protect pregnant, potentially pregnant and breastfeeding women from discrimination.

In doing so, the bill addresses important concerns raised by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission in its report Pregnant and Productive: It's a Right not a Privilege to Work While Pregnant.

The Report resulted from the inquiry that the Attorney-General requested the Commission to undertake into the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees in relation to pregnancy and work issues.

This was the first ever national inquiry into this important area of anti-discrimination law.

In November 2000, the Government announced its acceptance of the majority of the recommendations made in the Report.

Three of these recommendations were directed at addressing confusion about those provisions of the Act that concern: the asking of questions about pregnancy or potential pregnancy; the use of pregnancy-related medical information; and whether breastfeeding is a ground of sex discrimination.

The amendments to the Act put forward in this bill will assist in eliminating this confusion.

They will not only help to prevent discrimination against employees, but also greatly assist employers to manage their human resources and to ensure that they comply with their legal obligations.

The amendments to s.27 of the Act will make it clear that, where it is unlawful for women to be discriminated against because of their pregnancy or potential pregnancy, it is also unlawful to request information about pregnancy or potential pregnancy —questions that would not be asked of male applicants.

For example, because it is unlawful to refuse to employ a woman because she is pregnant, it is accordingly unlawful to ask a woman in a job interview whether she is pregnant.

It is important to clarify that such questions are unlawful, as they marginalise women, and may be detrimental to their performance in job interviews and their likelihood of success.

Equally as important, the clarification ensures that employers will better understand their obligations and avoid unintentionally breaching the Act.

The bill also clarifies s.27(2) of the Act, which permits requests for medical information about pregnancy or potential pregnancy, as an exception to the general prohibition in s.27.

The Report identified that without clarification the current provision may wrongly imply that it is not unlawful to discriminate in relation to medical examinations of pregnant employees during recruitment.

The addition of a note at the end of s.27(2) clarifies that information about pregnancy or potential pregnancy may be sought only for legitimate reasons, such as for occupational health and safety purposes.

It may not be used by an employer to discriminate unlawfully against a woman in contravention of other provisions of the Act.

The Report also noted that there is some confusion over whether discrimination on the ground of breastfeeding is covered by the Act.

As the Government stated in its response to the Report, it considers that discrimination on the grounds of breastfeeding is already prohibited by the Act.

However, the Government recognises the value of a clarifactory amendment.

The amendment to the definition of `sex discrimination' in s.5 of the Act makes it clear that breastfeeding is a characteristic that pertains generally to women, and removes any doubt that discrimination against a woman on the basis that she is breastfeeding amounts to unlawful sex discrimination.

In making these amendments, the bill does not expand the operation of the Act, but greatly improves, simplifies and clarifies important provisions of the Act that provide protection from unlawful discrimination for pregnant, potentially pregnant and breastfeeding women.

Of course, the provisions apply not only in the workplace but also to other areas of public life where the Act applies, such as when applying for rental accommodation, purchasing goods or services or applying for a bank loan.

These amendments will clarify the operation of the Act in these important areas for women, employers and others in the community.

Once again, practical and concrete steps are being taken by this Government to remove sex-based workplace discrimination and to improve the lives of working women while assisting employers to understand laws that impact upon their business in important ways.

The bill was prepared in consultation with the Commission as well as with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

The bill will have little, if any, financial impact.

It must be remembered, of course, that legislation is only part of the answer in preventing unlawful discrimination.

An important aspect of eliminating discrimination rests with employers and employees themselves, who must work cooperatively to find the best solution for their individual workplaces.

Communication and consultation can go a long way to ensuring that non-discriminatory arrangements are developed between employers and employees that accommodate the particular needs of a business or employee.

Another important aspect of eliminating discrimination is education and increasing awareness of the rights and responsibilities of employers and employees in relation to pregnancy and work issues.

In addition to these amendments, the Government released a booklet in April 2002 to raise awareness about rights and responsibilities concerning pregnancy and potential pregnancy issues in the workplace.

The booklet, entitled “Working your way through pregnancy” provides information about a number of pregnancy and work issues, including harassment, anti-discrimination and workplace relations laws and access to parental leave.

The Government is strongly committed to raising the awareness and improving the understanding of employers and employees about pregnancy and work issues.

This is fundamental to achieving cultural change and lasting improvements in equal opportunity for women in employment and other areas of public life.

The bill, together with the other Government initiatives to assist pregnant, potentially pregnant and breastfeeding women and their employers, are significant steps toward attaining this goal.

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WORKPLACE RELATIONS AMENDMENT (PROHIBITION OF COMPULSORY UNION FEES) BILL 2002 [No. 2]

Freedom of association is a cornerstone of the Government's vision for more productive and more prosperous workplaces. On coming to office, the Government amended the Workplace Relations Act 1996 better to reflect this principle, with broad legislative recognition of the freedom to join or not to join an industrial association.

This fundamental freedom is violated by recent union attempts to impose so-called `bargaining agent's fees'. These require non-union members to pay for union negotiations at their workplace, even though these negotiations may take no account of their concerns. In many cases the fee demanded has been set at $500 per year, well above the level of annual union dues. This suggests that many compulsory fee demands are being made with premeditated coercive intent.

Clauses purporting to require payment of compulsory union fees by non unionists have already been included in hundreds of federal certified agreements.

Compulsory fees for an unrequested service do not constitute `user pays'. User pays involves an exchange that is freely entered into by willing and properly informed parties. The Government believes that industrial associations should be subject to the same standards as ordinary businesses, which are prevented by fair trading legislation from providing unrequested services and then demanding payment for those services.

The content and intent of this bill should be familiar. It is the same as the bill that was laid aside on 18 September 2002 after the House of Representatives rejected Senate amendments that would have undermined the intent of the bill to protect individual employees from the imposition of compulsory union fees.

The Senate amendments would have allowed a majority vote to impose a compulsory bargaining services fee on all employees, irrespective of whether the individual employees affected had sought the bargaining services. The amendments removed from the bill important protections for employees who choose not to pay a fee, as well as the capacity to have compulsory bargaining service fee clauses removed from agreements.

The Government is reintroducing this bill to honour the commitment it made before the 2001 election to ban compulsory union levies.

The bill will amend the certified agreement and freedom of association provisions in the Workplace Relations Act 1996. The amendments address clauses in certified agreements that purport to require payment of bargaining services fees. They also address conduct designed to compel people to pay such fees.

In late 2001, a Full Bench of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission found that bargaining fee clauses in certified agreements do not contradict the strict letter of the freedom of association provisions of the Workplace Relations Act 1996, despite their acknowledged coercive intent. This has exhausted the legal avenues to have clauses removed from certified agreements.

There has been ongoing uncertainty in relation to the legal status of bargaining fee clauses, including whether such clauses can be included in agreements. In August 2002, the Commission held that it was unable to certify nine agreements containing a bargaining fee clause because that clause did not pertain to the employment relationship; that decision is under appeal.

The Workplace Relations Amendment (Prohibition of Compulsory Union Fees) Bill 2002 [No. 2] addresses this uncertainty. The bill provides that bargaining fee clauses in certified agreements are void, and will give the Commission the power to remove such clauses on application by the Employment Advocate, or a party to the agreement. The bill will prevent the Commission certifying an agreement containing a clause requiring the payment of a fee for bargaining services.

To ensure that it is clear that bargaining fee clauses in certified agreements do not provide a basis on which unions can legally compel non-members to pay such fees and to ensure that there are appropriate protections for individual employees who choose not to pay a bargaining fee, the bill will amend the Workplace Relations Act 1996 to:

· prohibit employers and others from engaging in discriminatory conduct against people who refuse to pay a bargaining fee;

· prohibit an industrial association from encouraging or inciting others to take discriminatory action against people who refuse to pay a bargaining fee;

· prohibit an industrial association from taking, or threatening to take, action with intent to coerce people to pay a bargaining fee; and

· prohibit an industrial association from demanding a bargaining fee.

There is also a need to prevent unions or employers from using other methods to create an impression that employees are legally obliged to pay compulsory union fees. Hence the bill will prohibit the making of false or misleading representations about a person's liability to pay a compulsory union fee.

The bill will not prevent people making voluntary contributions, provided there is no coercion or misrepresentative conduct. The bill will prevent demands for coercive, non consensual fees that are contrary to rights to freedom of association.

Bargaining fees are not a legitimate way for trade unions to arrest the dramatic and sustained fall in their membership.

Australian laws recognise an important statutory role for registered organisations, and confer upon them significant rights and obligations. But that legal standing cannot be at the expense of the right of individual employers and employees to freedom of association and to protection from coercive or discriminatory conduct.

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CUSTOMS LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (No. 2) 2002

This Bill, the Customs Legislation Amendment Bill (No. 2) 2002 contains amendments to the Customs Act 1901 and the Passenger Movement Charge Collection Act 1978.

The purpose of the Bill is to make amendments to the anti-dumping and countervailing provisions of the Customs Act, an amendment to exempt Air Security Officers from the Passenger Movement Charge and minor and technical amendments to International Trade Modernisation elements of Customs legislation.

The proposed anti-dumping and countervailing amendments have three major purposes.

The first is to provide greater clarity and certainty in respect to the treatment of `economies in transition'.

The second will amend the provisions governing the processing of final duty assessment applications and calculation of refunds of dumping duties.

The third purpose will be to make amendments to more accurately reflect the provisions of the World Trade Organisation anti dumping agreement.

Economies in transition are those that are moving from being centrally planned to a free market model.

While in transition, such economies are subject to provisions which enable Customs to enquire into the existence of price control in the market for those goods that are the subject of a dumping application.

Since the introduction of the “price control” concept in 1999, it has become apparent that there is uncertainty as to whether this includes both direct and indirect forms of government control over prices.

To overcome the uncertainty it is proposed to replace the term “ price control” with “ price influence” as this more accurately reflects the Australian Government's intention, as set out in ministerial guidelines issued in December 2000.

In considering whether a price influence situation exists, regard is given to whether the government of the exporting country has influenced the domestic price of goods which are the subject of an anti-dumping application.

The degree of government influence must be found to be significant. Examples of significant price influence include situations where the government supplies inputs at below normal cost to domestic manufacturers or producers; or through the operation of State-owned enterprises and has thereby influenced the market price of goods to such a significant degree that normal market forces no longer can be considered to apply to the goods under consideration.

The Bill will also introduce a clear requirement that exporters are to cooperate by providing the information necessary to assist in determining the presence or absence of price influence.

Without the information from exporters, it is very difficult for the authorities to determine that price influence does not exist. Therefore, it will be made clear within the Customs Act that an appropriate response from the exporter to the questionnaire is an essential element of a price influence assessment.

If an exporter either fails to provide the necessary information or provides less than adequate information then a recommendation will be made to the Minister that a price influence situation be found to exist.

The amendments to the duty assessment scheme are to provide greater certainty and a more effective means of administering the scheme by inserting into the Customs Act discrete steps that will apply in screening duty assessment applications and in processing duty assessment applications after lodgement.

Under the current assessment scheme, applicants are able to submit information that is inaccurate or which has very little probative value in support of their applications for assessment of duty.

In the absence of an express power to reject duty assessment applications that contain deficient information, Customs must proceed to consider these applications and make a determination based on the deficient information.

This means that the assessment of duty may not be accurate.

The new scheme will also allow Customs to reject or terminate duty assessment applications at several stages before or during the consideration of the applications.

These provisions are intended to complement the evidentiary requirements of the new scheme.

The amendments will require applicants to provide sufficient evidence to establish the correctness of their claims.

The amendments are also intended to address the recent decision of the Federal Court in Amcor Packaging v. Chief Executive Officer of Customs where the court found that there was a distinction between when an application for duty assessment was `made' and when it was `lodged'.

The amendments seek to remove this distinction by using the term `lodged' consistently throughout Division 4 of Part XVB of the Customs Act.

The amendments also give effect to Article 9.3.3 of the World Trade Organisation Agreement on the Implementation of Article VI of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade by reflecting the evidentiary requirements set out in that Article that apply to duty assessment applications which involve constructed export price.

Technical amendments of a minor nature will be made to the provisions on cumulation, accelerated review and continuation of dumping measures to bring Australia's legislation into conformity with the World Trade Organisation agreement.

Finally amendments will be made to clarify that the reinvestigation of a case following a recommendation by the Trade Measures Review Officer is not to be treated as a de novo investigation.

The Bill contains an amendment to the Passenger Movement Charge Collection Act to exempt Air Security Officers who travel on an international flight for the purpose of enhancing the security of the aircraft from paying the Passenger Movement Charge.

The final set of amendments in this Bill contains amendments to the Customs Act to address minor omissions related to the Customs Legislation Amendment and Repeal (International Trade Modernisation) Act 2001.

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AGRICULTURE FISHERIES AND FORESTRY LEGISLATION AMENDMENT BILL (No. 2) 2002

The purpose of this Bill is to amend the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act 1980, Export Control Act 1982, National Residue Survey Administration Act 1992, Quarantine Act 1908, and the Dairy Industry Legislation Amendment Act 2002.

The amendments to the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act 1980 include provisions to correct the Register of Protected Names, to add a general power to regulate matters agreed to under prescribed wine trading agreements and to lengthen the period of time in which a prosecution for export breaches may be brought.

In 1993, extensive provisions for a Register of Protected Names were added to the Act along with other amendments designed to implement the outcomes of negotiations on an Australia/EU bilateral Wine Agreement. The function of the Register is chiefly there to record protected wine names and terms, both Australian and those of other wine producing countries. However, no provisions were included at that time which allowed amendment of registered names if an error occurred in making the entry or indeed if entries became obsolete. The proposed amendments will rectify this.

Apart from the Australia/EU Wine Agreement, Australia is pursuing other agreements in relation to wine. As a member of the New World Wine Producer's Forum Australia signed, in December 2001, a mutual acceptance agreement on winemaking practices and is currently working with this group on a further treaty on wine labelling. As a result of its strong focus to improve wine trading arrangements it is likely that Australia, in the future, may need to modify some of its domestic wine laws to enact commitments made with other wine producing countries. The inclusion of a new power into Section 8, and the addition of a regulatory power under Section 46(1) will put in place the legislative framework to allow this to occur.

The final matter is that of the prosecution of export breaches under the Act. The Act sets no prescribed time limit which means that section 15B of the Crimes Act 1914 operates, which only prescribes a one-year time period in which to bring a prosecution. This time frame is not suitable for exports. The process of export operations can be quite lengthy and a breach may not be evident until well after the commencement period has expired and especially so in the case of wine which can handle a lengthy storage period prior to being opened. Thus the evidence can be available for a considerable period of time, much longer than the year period allowed for the bringing of a prosecution. The proposed amendment therefore extends this period to 7 years, which is consistent with current record keeping obligations under the Act. Section 39U of the Act requires wine manufacturers to keep records for seven years for each wine they make.

The purpose of the amendment to the Export Control Act 1982 (the Act) is to express a contrary intention for the purposes of section 49A of the Acts Interpretation Act 1901. The amendment will enable the orders made under the Act to apply, adopt or incorporate with or without modification the Codex Alimentarius issued by the Codex Alimentarius Commission of the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations and the World Health Organization or the Food Standards Code published under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand Act 1991 (the standards) as in force at a particular time or as in force from time to time.

Currently, where orders apply these standards, the references to the standards in the orders must be interpreted as references to the standards in force at the time the orders were made. If the standards change after the orders are made, the orders must be remade to incorporate the changed standards. This amendment will ensure that such references can be read as references to the current versions of the standards and will avoid the necessity of amending the orders whenever the standards change.

The amendments to the National Residue Survey Administration Act 1992 (the Act) clarify the activities that can be carried out under the Act for which payments can be made out of the National Residue Survey Reserve and brings the Act into line with other Commonwealth legislation on the protection of personal information.

Previously, the National Residue Survey has only monitored and reported on the level of contaminants in raw food products, animal feeds and fibre products that have been produced in Australia, or produced from animals or plants produced in Australia.

The amendments to Section 8 of the Act will allow the National Residue Survey to test all inputs to the production of Australia's raw food, feed and fibre products, including soil, water and imported animal feeds. This will ensure that Australia maintains its high reputation as a supplier of a clean green product on its domestic and international markets.

The amendments to section 11 of the Act dealing with the release of National Residue Survey information brings the Act into line with other Commonwealth legislation that contains personal information. This will ensure that any personal information released to a relevant authority or appropriate person for the purpose of monitoring or regulation of residues and contaminants is used for that specified purpose only.

The purpose of the amendments to the Quarantine Act 1908 (the Act) is to make the Act compliant with the Criminal Code 1995 (the Code). A key feature of the Code is the emphasis on the structuring of offences to provide clarity and certainty in relation to the scope and effect of each offence, and to give consistency as to how criminal offences are to be interpreted by the courts. The Attorney-General's Department has identified that several offence provisions in the Act require revision to make them fully compliant with the Code. The amendments will:

· update section 5 of the Act dealing with Interpretation by removing references to provisions that have been repealed in the Crimes Act 1914 and substituting equivalent sections of the Code;

· restructure and redraft certain offences to clarify the fault elements that are to apply for the relevant offences; and whether provisos in offence provisions, indicated by words such as “unless” or “except”, are elements of the offence or a defence to the offence.

The proposed amendment to the Dairy Industry Legislation Amendment Act 2002 is to correct a misdescribed amendment.

Debate (on motion by Senator Webber) adjourned.

Ordered that the bills be listed on the Notice Paper as separate orders of the day.