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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
Page: 26029

Senator COONAN (Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts) (4:38 PM) —Senator Brown has raised an issue that relates to the expropriation section and in particular paragraph 4(b) of the free trade agreement text. As I said in response to an earlier question—and, if there is anything that Senator Hill can add when he gets here, I am sure he will do so—my advice is that this really relates to providing a safeguard, a saver, except in rare circumstances, for situations that may be difficult to envisage now but which are thought appropriate to allow compensation to be claimed. I am a former member of JSCOT and I can recall that quite regularly in treaties not every circumstance that might be in contemplation was spelt out in great particularity and in great detail because, as bitter experience tells you, the more prescriptive you are the more likely it is that you are going to not have thought of a circumstance that may well arise. So the language is deliberately there, knowing that the rare circumstances have not been exhaustively catalogued. `Rare' I imagine, Senator Brown, does mean rare. For that reason it is difficult to give you a catalogue of every rare circumstance that might have been in contemplation. Senator Brown, that is my advice. If there is an explanation that elaborates further on what I have said that can be provided by Senator Hill, he will be here shortly and will no doubt do so.