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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
Page: 25982

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) (1:27 PM) —I suppose the short answer, I am advised, is that that particular part does not refer to disputes about audiovisual media. Putting that aside for the moment, the issue is that, if Australia were in breach, it might be possible to extract a penalty. But the government's argument is that we are satisfied with the audiovisual arrangement that has been reached and the protection and flexibility that we have been able to negotiate. I draw Senator Nettle's attention to this—Senator Brown is leaving and can probably have the luxury of a lunch—

Senator Brown —No, I will be back very shortly.

Senator HILL —It will be good to have you back, Senator. I draw Senator Nettle's attention to the parts of the agreement that set out, under the heading `Cross-border trade in services and investment', what Australia reserves the right to apply and maintain in relation to multichannelled free-to-air commercial television broadcasting services, free-to-air commercial television broadcasting services, subscription television broadcasting services, free-to-air radio broadcasting services, interactive audio and/or video services, spectrum and licensing, and subsidies or grants. We think that that was a very good outcome for Australia and that it protects our cultural environment to the extent that we believe is reasonable. As I said, that was something that was very important to us in this negotiation and we are pleased with what we were able to achieve.