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Wednesday, 17 October 2018
Page: 7517

Senator RUSTON (South AustraliaAssistant Minister for International Development and the Pacific) (19:11): I would like to thank those senators who have contributed to this debate on the Government Procurement (Judicial Review) Bill 2017. The bill implements recommendation 11 of the July 2014 Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee report into the Commonwealth procurement procedures for the Department of Finance to establish an independent and effective complaints mechanism for procurement processes.

The government does not support the amendments moved by Senator Patrick and the Greens. The proposed amendments are effectively an attempt to have Australia renegotiate its TPP-11 obligations to remove the investor-state dispute settlement and labour market testing commitments, using legislation associated with ratifying the TPP-11 as leverage to achieve this. The proposed amendments would risk the clear benefits that the proposed complaints mechanism is aiming to achieve for suppliers to the Australian government. The amendments would also potentially impact on a range of other international agreements, including by undermining Australia's bid to accede to the World Trade Organization government procurement agreement, which will provide Australian businesses with reciprocal access to overseas government procurement markets worth US$1.7 trillion. I thank all senators for their contributions and commend the bill to the Senate.

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator McCarthy ): The question is that the bill be read a second time.