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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 26224

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) (8:46 PM) —My advice is that the answer is yes, both parties have agreed to this provision and it is included in both parties' legislation. I will take the opportunity, whilst I am on my feet, to say that I am really quite puzzled at the concern being expressed by the Greens in this regard. The concern seems to be that the Australian official—the verification officer—who is verifying an Australian export may be accompanied by an American Customs official if the occupier consents. If the occupier does not consent, the American Customs official cannot participate. Furthermore, that consent can be subsequently withdrawn, as I read the provision. So, such a provision is not an unreasonable thing, seeing as it is the Australian side that is verifying an action by an Australian exporter and on some occasions the other side—in this instance, the US—might request to have their Customs official attend the inspection as well. But, if the Australian exporter objects, that cannot occur. There seems to me to be little mischief in this provision. I cannot really see why the Greens wish to have it removed.