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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26383

Senator NETTLE (5:38 PM) —The minister gave an answer a while ago when Senator Ridgeway was asking about why we ended up with a review mechanism. The minister said, `The short answer is it was sought.' That makes me think what a stupendous group of people we have put in charge of negotiating an agreement. The United States pharmaceutical companies put pressure on their government to ask, `Can we have this?' and the Australian government's argument why a review mechanism has been included in the trade agreement is `it was sought'. Can the minister explain what has changed since 2000, when the government rejected the idea, which was proposed at that time, for a review mechanism or an appeal mechanism to the PBAC? Former Senator Tambling, who was the parliamentary secretary at the time, reviewed and reported on the matter. He recommended to the relevant minister that it not proceed, and the government accepted that advice and rejected the idea of a review mechanism to the PBS. What, if anything, has changed since that time that has made the Australian government believe that it is an appropriate thing to do?