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Message No. 379, 1 December 2003, from the Senate was reported returning the Trade Practices Amendment (Personal Injuries and Death) Bill 2003 with amendments.

Ordered—That the amendments be considered forthwith.

On the motion of Mr Cameron (Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer), the amendments were disagreed to, after debate.

Mr Cameron presented reasons, which were circulated, and are as follows:

Reasons of the House of Representatives for disagreeing to the amendments of the Senate

Senate Amendments 1 and 2

These amendments make a number of variations to a Bill which was drafted to implement a commitment made by the Commonwealth at the Ministerial Meeting on Public Liability Insurance on Friday 15 November 2002. At that meeting, the Commonwealth agreed to legislate to implement recommendations 19 and 20 of the Review of the Law of Negligence, preventing individuals, and the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission in a representative capacity, from bringing actions for damages for personal injuries or death resulting from contraventions of Division 1 of Part V of the Trade Practices Act 1974. The Bill is designed to complement State and Territory initiatives directed to ensuring that outcomes in negligence actions reflect community expectations.

At the Council of Australian Governments' (COAG) meeting on Friday 6 December 2002, COAG noted the Commonwealth's commitment to amend the Trade Practices Act 1974to ensure that State and Territory legislation will not be compromised. Acceptance of the amendments would fail to address the potential of the Trade Practices Act 1974 being used as a no-fault alternative to claims of negligence, allowing State and Territory reforms to be evaded and undermined.

A majority of the State and Territory Governments, New South Wales, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory, have written providing support for the approach adopted by the Commonwealth.

The House of Representatives therefore does not accept these amendments.

On the motion of Mr Cameron, the reasons were adopted.