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Thursday, 12 August 2004
Page: 26420

Senator RIDGEWAY (9:50 PM) —I am quite surprised at the minister's response, given that this is the government's policy. Chapter 17 was written by the officials in the negotiating team, and they do not even know what the answer is going to be. I have made it quite clear.

Senator Hill —We're having trouble interpreting your question.

Senator RIDGEWAY —I have made it quite clear that our understanding of chapter 17, as a result of information that has been provided to us by experts in the field, is that there will be an extension of civil liability in the same way as in the United States. You have to remember here that we have not gone through a process of full public debate and consultation to amend our IP or copyright law. We have decided to change our laws as a result of bringing in a free trade agreement with the United States, and in the process we have allowed the laws of a foreign country to dictate what the terms are going to be in Australia, particularly in relation to civil liability. Minister, given that this is your free trade agreement, it is your policy and it is the laws that you are going to put in place that we are all going to be subject to, you should have some idea of an answer in relation to this particular part of chapter 17 of the free trade agreement.