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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
Page: 26030


Senator COONAN (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (4:41 PM) —I am further advised that there is no investor-state dispute settlement mechanism in the agreement of the kind that I think was alluded to in Senator Brown's earlier question. Any concern by a United States company or corporation will need of course to be pursued through our jurisdiction, through the Australian courts, and Australian law would apply. That is not changed by the agreement. That is our jurisdiction and the law that would apply in Australia is not being changed by the agreement or by the enabling bill that is currently under consideration by the chamber. The agreement's provisions of expropriation, on my understanding, reflect Australia's existing obligations under customary international law and these arrangements are consistent with existing Australian practice in this area. It seems that this merely reflects what is currently the customary approach taken in international law as it applies in Australian courts.