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Thursday, 27 November 2014
Page: 9533


Senator RYAN (VictoriaParliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Education) (13:42): The Labor Party's lengthy discussion of legislation previously considered non-controversial continues. Senator Wong raised a few issues, which I know have been brought to the attention of the minister's office as requested.

Senator Gallacher mentioned the reforms of 1996 to the treaty-making provisions. I might say that in a past life I had some work to do with those reforms before they were enacted by the Howard government. However, I will correct the record to say that those reforms were the product not of issues that had arisen out of trade discussions; they were the product of public concern about the number of treaties that were being entered into by the executive in an attempt to override state powers and abuse the external affairs power under the previous Keating government. They were not the product of discussion about trade treaties.

Turning to this legislation, the Customs Amendment (Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 contains amendments to the Customs Act 1901. These amendments implement Australia's obligations under chapter 3 on the rules of origin as set out in the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement. These rules are essential for the purposes of determining whether goods imported from Japan are eligible for preferential rates of customs duty under the economic partnership agreement.

The bill also includes amendments to include relevant obligations on Australian exporters and producers who wish to export Australian goods to Japan under the agreement and obtain preferential treatment for those goods. Certain powers are also conferred on authorised officers to examine the records and ask questions of exporters or producers of goods exported to Japan in order to verify the origin of such goods.

The Customs Tariff Amendment (Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014 contains amendments to the Customs Tariff Act 1995 that will implement Australia's tariff commitments set out in the Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement. These amendments are complementary to those contained in the Customs Amendment (Japan-Australia Economic Partnership Agreement Implementation) Bill 2014. I take this opportunity to indicate that while the government will not be supporting the second reading amendment moved by the Leader of the Opposition, we will not be dividing on it.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: The question is that second reading amendment moved by Senator Wong be agreed to.

Question agreed to.

Original question, as amended, agreed to.

Bills read a second time.