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Thursday, 13 September 2012
Page: 6879


Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandDeputy Leader of the Opposition in the Senate) (13:26): It is with a very heavy heart that I rise to support the Customs Tariff Amendment (2012 Measures No.1) Bill 2012, because this particularly prosaic piece of legislation has defied even my capacity to find a humorous, quirky or engaging anecdote lying within its terms. So I will stick to the script that Mr Lambie has kindly written for me. The purpose of the bill is to make amendments to the Customs Tariff Act 1995 to list Serbia—we could have said something about Ruritania at this point—as a developing country for the purposes of the Australian System of Tariff Preferences, to re-insert a subheading applicable to coir yarn and to correct a number of technical errors in the customs tariff.

The bill will amend the Customs Tariff Act 1995, the customs tariff, to, firstly, incorporate alterations that were contained in the Customs Tariff Proposal (No. 1) 2012, tabled in the House of Representatives on 16 February 2012, as follows: the re-insertion of subheading 5308.10.00 applicable to coir yarn. Coir yarn is typically used in the manufacture of mats and ropes. Different varieties of coir yarn are used for geotextile manufacturing. The yarn is made out of fibre extracted from coconut husk. The other amendment is to list Serbia as a developing country for the purposes of the Australian System of Tariff Preferences. I am sure, Mr Lambie, that at this point we could have said something about the Archduke Ferdinand, Gavrilo Princip and the true origins of the Black Hand—but let me pass on. It also corrects a number of technical errors in the customs tariff that have occurred as a result of drafting and clerical mistakes.

Notably, the first two parts of the bill were previously given effect through the tabling of Customs Tariff Proposal (No. 1) 2012. The remaining amendments in the bill correct a number of technical errors that have occurred in the customs tariff.

These amendments will help to maintain the quality of the text of the customs tariff and will ensure that Australia's customs tariff is correctly aligned with the International Convention on the Harmonised Commodity Description and Coding System that forms the basis of the customs tariff. The amendments do not affect the classification of goods or customs duty payable. The coalition commends the bill to the Senate.