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Wednesday, 3 May 1989
Page: 1728

Senator TATE (Minister for Justice)(7.18) —The Copyright Amendment Bill and the Circuit Layouts Bill are being considered cognately. In relation to the Circuit Layouts Bill, I note that both the Opposition and the Australian Democrats have indicated their support for that legislation. That is certainly appreciated and it is consistent with what I understand to be industry support, if not enthusiasm, for this legislation. That goodwill is even permeating the chamber. The Government is committed to fostering the development of the Australian computer chip industry and this Bill is an important part of that development. The Government is hopeful that the Bill can be passed before the conclusion of the World Intellectual Property Organisation Diplomatic Conference on the draft treaty on this topic which commences in Washington on 8 May 1989. We would be pleased if we could give our delegates to that important international conference the information, the message, the missive, the electronic epistle, that this Parliament has agreed to the passage of that Circuit Layouts Bill. I am sure that, with the support of the Opposition and of the Democrats, that can readily be achieved.

I have already indicated that, for all the reasons that I outlined at length yesterday, the Government will not support the Opposition's second reading amendment. The Democrats' second reading amendment is acceptable, so long as the preambular words are altered in such a way that the Government takes responsibility for preparing the report that Senator Macklin seeks. He wants the Attorney-General's Department to be required, as a matter of urgency, to prepare a report. That would be inappropriate, as it would require consultation between several departments. However, I have given him an undertaking that the Government, calling on all its resources and departmental officers who are relevant to the exercise, will prepare a report along the lines he wishes. For those reasons, I commend the Copyright Amendment Bill 1988 and the Circuit Layouts Bill 1988 to the Senate. As I said, the Government will oppose the Opposition's second reading amendment, but will support the Democrats' second reading amendment in a slightly amended form.

Question put:

That the amendment (Senator Hill's) be agreed to.