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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 26233

Senator HARRIS (9:43 PM) —I seek, through the chair, some clarification from Senator Hill. The point I raise is a very relevant one. With the implementation legislation, the government is making substantial alterations to those 10 acts—the Customs Act, the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemical Code Act, the Australian Wine and Brandy Corporation Act, the Life Insurance Act, the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act, the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act, the Therapeutic Goods Act, the Patents Act, the Copyright Act, and the Telecommunications Act. I am simply asking for reassurance from the government that, in altering the heads of power in those acts to accommodate the free trade agreement, we are not taking away a right that has accrued under those acts to an Australian citizen who will not be involved in any way shape or form with anything to do with the free trade agreement.

The changes to the acts change the fundamental acts. If we are taking away a right or a privilege that a person had under those acts before they were amended, that is a detriment to that person. The acts having changed, they must comply with all of those acts and they may never ever participate in anything remotely in relation to the free trade agreement. If we want an example, look at the Life Insurance Act. How many people in Australia have a life insurance policy? They need to know that the changes that the government is proposing to the Life Insurance Act 1995 are not a detriment to them.