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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26445


Senator HARRIS (9:08 AM) —I move One Nation amendment (5) on sheet 4367:

(5) Schedule 1, page 5 (after line 3), after the Schedule heading, insert:

Customs Act 1901

1A After subsection 50(2)

Insert:

(2A) For the purposes of paragraph (2)(aa), a specified circumstance includes a circumstance where it is established that the importation of like or directly competitive products are being imported in increased quantities, either absolute or in relation to domestic production, and the importation is having a negative impact on the domestic industry.

There we had a classic example. That was the exact example for the Australian people. There was not a word of defence by the Labor Party, the Liberal Party or The Nationals to have a very open statement—the statement being the ability to protect the environment. No, they want their FTA. It really makes you wonder whether what we are seeing is the government and the opposition delivering the best legislation that money can buy.

Here is a very simple amendment. The purpose of the amendment is to protect the jobs of Australian workers in, for example, footwear and textiles, where Australia currently has 60,000 to 70,000 workers employed. If this amendment is agreed to by Labor and the Liberals, under exceptional circumstances it will allow the government to restrict those imports where they were found to be adversely affecting the jobs of workers. I will put it as bluntly as I can. If we have no response from the Labor Party nor support for this amendment, it will send a clear and concise signal to every worker in Australia that the Labor Party has abandoned them, because the thrust of this amendment is to protect them. It is not to stop imports; its purpose is to protect the jobs of Australian workers, the very people the Labor Party is committed to defending. If it abrogates that commitment and does not support this amendment then it is clear that the Labor Party has walked away from its members. I commend this amendment to the chamber.

Question put:

That the amendment (Senator Harris's) be agreed to.