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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26419

Senator RIDGEWAY (9:49 PM) —To clarify for the minister, the question went to the extension of civil liability under the free trade agreement. As I understand it, the free trade agreement specifically allows Australia to limit civil and criminal liability of public institutions. I have mentioned everything from non-profit libraries, archives, educational institutions to public non-commercial broadcasting entities. But the bill itself does not make this exemption regarding civil liability. Where civil liability has not been dealt with, I ask about the extension of civil liability in those particular cases where people may think they are doing the right thing but find that, as a result of the free trade agreement and the integration—it is more than harmonisation—of US IP laws, the way has been opened for civil litigation to occur, presumably by record companies, television companies and so on, which seems to be the norm in the United States. Given that we are now opening that way, is there now not the possibility of civil liability actions being taken?