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Thursday, 23 August 2001
Page: 30203


Mr SLIPPER (Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Finance and Administration) (11:01 AM) —in reply—I would like to thank the honourable members for Denison and Curtin for their respective contributions to this very important debate. As was indicated by the honourable member for Denison, these matters are technical. They are items of legislation which are brought in regardless of which party happens to be in office at the time. He mentioned that, in his former manifestation as a minister of the Crown, he had occasion to introduce similar legislation.

The purpose of the Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 5) 2001 is to incorporate in the Customs Tariff Act 1995 approximately 800 amendments that have been initiated by the second review of the Harmonised Commodity Description Coding System, the harmonized system, by the World Trade Organisation. Australia's commodity classifications for traded goods have been based on the harmonised system since 1988.

As a signatory to the international convention, Australia and other signatory countries are required to implement the changes arising from the second review, from 1 January 2002. The Customs Tariff Amendment Bill (No. 5) 2001 ensures that existing duty rates and levels of tariff protection for Australian industries and margins of tariff preference accorded to Australia's trading partners are preserved. The bill also aligns Australia's tariff structure with the international standard.

Perhaps in jest, Mr Deputy Speaker, the honourable member for Denison referred to section 178 and the description which is to be included. It says:

ARTICLES OF APPAREL AND CLOTHING, ACCESSORIES (INCLUDING GLOVES, MITTENS, MITTS), FOR ALL PURPOSES, OF VULCANISED RUBBER OTHER THAN HARD RUBBER:

I suspect that he was being humorous, which is not something that the member for Denison is often accused of. But the changes are being made to include mittens and mitts in the description of gloves. The changes maintain the current treatment of articles of apparel made of the two various types of rubber. I daresay that, when the member for Denison reads the Hansard tomorrow, he will be very pleased that I have been able to elucidate the point that he raised and have given him the illumination on that aspect of the bill that he asked of me when he was speaking in the debate. Having said that, I am very pleased to thank honourable members for their support of this legislation. I commend the bill to the chamber.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill read a second time.

Ordered that the bill be reported to the House without amendment.