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Thursday, 24 June 2004
Page: 31675

Mr ROSS CAMERON (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer) (2:19 PM) —I move:

That the amendments made by the Senate in place of the amendments disagreed to by the House be agreed to.

The House accepts the amendments moved by the government in the Senate. The government has given very serious consideration to the proposals to exempt tobacco related illnesses from the damages regime this legislation imposes. Subsequent to the earlier set of amendments moved by the Senate, the government has received from the ALP a written reassurance that Labor sees tobacco litigation as a special case and does not seek any further changes to the Trade Practices Act based on this precedent.

After extensive consideration and representations from groups such as the Cancer Council of Australia and having received reassurances from the ALP with regard to future carve-outs, the government decided to amend the legislation to preserve the existing unlimited liability for personal injuries and death claims resulting from the use of tobacco products. These amendments will allow people suffering tobacco related injuries to claim the full amount of damages against tobacco companies. Claims will be subject to a three--year limitation period from the date of discoverability of the injury. There will be no long-stop period. These amendments complement the strong stance the government has taken in relation to tobacco control. I commend the government's amendments to the House.