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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26399

Senator HILL (Minister for Defence) (8:09 PM) —As I understand it, the certificate does not warrant the quality of the product. So I think the reference that the honourable senator just made is inappropriate. This is a certificate as to whether there is an existing patent or otherwise. The protection for the public servant in this provision seems to me to go beyond statutory immunity in that the section simply says:

Civil proceedings do not lie ...

Why does it go that far? It is because the certificate that is referred to is not the certificate of the secretary. As I said to Senator Harris, I find it hard to imagine how you could found an action anyway. If this is simply reinforcing what seems to be obvious, there must have been somebody involved in the process that was—Senator Harris might think, and I might agree with him—unduly nervous. Nevertheless, it therefore does not seem to me to be something to be particularly concerned about. If it reinforces what seems to be obvious then it hardly seems worth objecting to.