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Monday, 11 November 1991
Page: 2842

Senator SCHACHT (5.29 p.m.) —When the Copyright Amendment Bill was previously before this chamber I spoke on a number of clauses. I am very pleased to see that a number of Senate amendments have been accepted by the Government with further amendment to make them clearer and more precise in a technical sense. I am also very pleased to see that the Opposition has accepted the rejection by the Government in the House of Representatives of amendments Nos 5 and 10. At the time I expressed some surprise that the Opposition would support those amendments because, in my view, they were contrary to the thrust of everything else it was arguing in the Bill.

  In my view, had amendment No. 5 dealing with the importation of titles been carried, it would have meant that there would be a bigger and more difficult restriction on books being imported into Australia and, therefore, on access of the Australian people to those titles. I believe the Government was absolutely correct in rejecting those two amendments.

  The final point I wish to make to the Minister representing the Attorney-General, Senator Tate, is that when this Bill was debated earlier I suggested that it might be more appropriate for the Government to have a review of its operation after, say, 12 or 18 months rather than three years. It will become clear very quickly whether the impact of these amendments to the Copyright Bill will have the success that we all want it to have—that is, easier access to books for the Australian population and, hopefully, at cheaper prices. I do not think we should have to wait three years to have a review. In view of my remarks in an earlier debate, I ask the Minister whether there is any response from the Government on conducting a review after 12 or 18 months. With that question, I commend the Bill as amended to the Senate.