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Wednesday, 27 June 2001
Page: 28690

Mr McMULLAN (1:58 PM) — Were we not within two minutes of question time, we would have divided on the second reading of the Copyright Amendment (Parallel Importation) Bill 2001. However, it would have disrupted question time and the proceedings of the House, so it was not appropriate. We have a fair idea of what the outcome of a division would have been, so we feel it was unnecessary to call it, but I do want to make it clear that in normal circumstances that would have happened.

I feel somewhat sorry for the Attorney-General. Obviously he has a very broad range of responsibilities and does not have time to give detailed consideration to every matter that comes before him and has not been able to give detailed consideration to the information being provided to him by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in attempting to justify the unjustifiable with regard to the book industry. We will have a chance to come back to this later.

What I really want to take up and ask the minister to respond to as we look at this bill is the attempt he made in summing up the second reading debate to justify the government's position by saying that any potential adverse consequences for the book industry would be compensated by the book industry support package. That package was introduced to compensate the book industry for the impact of the GST on books. It cannot do both. This government negotiated a deal with the Democrats to put a GST on books and, in return, gave them a compensation package. They always felt that it would be used to justify subsequent attacks on them and the minister has proved them to be correct. It is a serious problem for this industry and the minister's attempt to justify the unjustifiable is entirely incapable of being justified.

Mr SPEAKER —Order! It being 2 p.m., the proceedings are interrupted in accordance with standing order 101A. The proceedings may be resumed at a later hour.