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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26434

Senator CHERRY (11:04 PM) —I find it passing strange that, as Senator Ridgeway has pointed out, the US free trade agreement did not include the ratification of the Foreign Judgments Act. In this debate, we have heard a lot about how one of the benefits of this agreement will be the closer meshing of the corporate and economic activities of Australia and the United States. It strikes me as a serious oversight that the government has not completed that process by ensuring that the recognition of judgments in one country by the other will be brought into play. If we are going to have closer economic relations, then obviously in both countries we need closer respect for the rule of law and the courts to ensure that those closer economic relations can be operated on a proper and civil basis. I ask the minister whether the matter of the enforcement of civil judgments through the Foreign Judgments Act was raised with the United States. If not, why not? Does the government have any plans to follow up the US-Australia free trade agreement with action to ensure that the Foreign Judgments Act is in fact complied with by United States corporations?