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Wednesday, 25 November 2015
Page: 8982

Senator RYAN (VictoriaAssistant Cabinet Secretary) (15:48): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator RYAN: The government opposes this motion. The government is confident that due processes set by the existing foreign investment framework has been followed with respect to recent significant transactions involving foreign investors. In respect of these transactions we are confident relevant agency consultation has occurred. The coalition is acutely aware of the sensitivities regarding foreign investment, strategic national assets and critical infrastructure. The government is assessing options to strengthen the federal government's ability to protect the national interest in these cases and will have more to say on this issue in the future. The government is already consulting with the states and territories to remove this exemption that has existed since the 1970s. Labor never looked at reforming the FIRB legislation or sought to bring these types of transactions within the FIRB review net. The government has also just passed significant legislation which increases the government's powers on foreign investment, particularly around ensuring that FIRB has the resources, capability and legislative framework to ensure that foreign investment is achieved on terms that are not contrary to our national interest.

A division having been called and the bells being rung—

Senator Ryan: I seek to cancel the division.

The PRESIDENT: As there is no objection from the Senate, the division is so cancelled.

Question agreed to.