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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 26104


Senator NETTLE (11:01 AM) —I would like to ask some questions about the manufacturing components of this legislation, and given that there are no amendments before the committee that relate specifically to manufacturing industries and potential job losses in this area—


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN (Senator Cherry)—Is that relevant to this amendment?


Senator NETTLE —There is no amendment in this entire debate that deals with the issue of manufacturing.


Senator Ridgeway —Senator Harris has one.


Senator NETTLE —I am sorry; I have been informed there is one coming up later. I can discuss those issues now or we can wait until we get to that point in the committee's consideration. I am happy to take direction from the chair.


Senator Brown —Mr Temporary Chairman, on a point of order: it is relevant to this proposed section because if there is one area likely to lead to disputation it is manufacturing. The free trade agreement removes Australian barriers to imports of manufactures from the United States; it does not do the reverse in all cases. Therefore, it is very likely to be a matter of disputation and therefore very likely to go to arbitration. I think Senator Nettle is quite pertinent in wanting to look at the potential for dispute here, in wanting to look at the potential for aggrievement in the manufacturing industries in Australia under this process and in wanting to find out what the process is for settlement of aggrievement if it occurs.


The TEMPORARY CHAIRMAN —I call Senator Nettle but do note there are an awful lot of amendments that other senators are keen to get to.


Senator NETTLE —I note likewise. The question I want to start out by asking in relation to manufacturing jobs is: what studies have the government done on the potential impact of job losses in the manufacturing sector as a result of the Australia-US free trade agreement?