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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31452

Mr DOWNER (Minister for Foreign Affairs) (9:22 AM) —I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

This bill will establish a simpler structure to deal with changes in costs and validity of passports. This structure will enable the government to respond rapidly to demands by Australian travellers for different types of passports and to increase fees and shorten validity periods for those who lose multiple passports.

This structure will also resolve the longstanding technical constitutional debate over whether passport fees were a tax or cost recovery.

Each year the Australian passports system provides one million Australians with passports at a cost of $100 million. It is important that this substantial operation is put on the soundest legal footing.

I present the explanatory memorandum to this bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Fitzgibbon) adjourned.