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Tuesday, 6 June 1989
Page: 3398


Senator ALSTON(11.16) —I move:

Pages 13 and 14, clause 15, proposed section 76, line 37 (page 13) to line 2 (page 14), leave out the proposed section.

The amendment is that proposed new section 76 be deleted. We have run through this argument several times, so I will not go over the same ground. I simply ask why the Overseas Telecommunications Commission (OTC), whilst it retains monopoly status, should be immune from suit. For all the reasons that I advanced yesterday, it seems extraordinary that a very profitable operation should not be able to bear the costs which might be incurred by its customers as a result of the negligence of OTC. Whilst Senator Evans can hypothesise about what will happen if a multinational suffers multimillion dollar losses, one could say, I think with greater validity, that it is much more likely that it will be a multitude of smaller customers of OTC who will suffer. In terms of equity and justice, I would have thought that their interests should prevail. There is no good reason why OTC should retain its immunity from suit.