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Tuesday, 10 August 2004
Page: 26047

Senator RIDGEWAY (6:15 PM) —That is quite an extraordinary response from the minister to a question on the inclusion of social policy in trade agreements. I want to ask a very specific question of the minister about why both the Australian and the United States governments agreed to completely exempt the area of Internet gambling from the free trade agreement. In particular, I want to know whether that was done for social policy reasons or for reasons to do with the recognition of the limitations of trade tribunals when it comes to social policy being dealt with in trade agreements. If they have already set that precedent, is it not also possible—and should it not have been the case if an argument was being put forward about social policy and doing things in the interests of both Australians and Americans in this case—to put forward a range of other exemptions? Why is Internet gambling completely separate and unique, as opposed to other social policies such as the PBS? Why were these other policies not exempted from the free trade agreement?