Senate debates

Tuesday, 26 November 2019


Customs Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019, Customs Tariff Amendment (Growing Australian Export Opportunities Across the Asia-Pacific) Bill 2019; In Committee

1:21 pm

Photo of Simon BirminghamSimon Birmingham (SA, Liberal Party, Minister for Trade) Share this | Hansard source

Very quickly in relation to AFTINET, which Senator Steele-John has referenced a couple of times: I would note that AFTINET admitted to JSCOT that they don't represent exporters or businesses. Their membership is rather narrow, declining and largely union based. That said, they can make their criticisms. I would also note, though, that I'm not aware of AFTINET ever seeing any content of any trade agreement that they've ever supported. They always find reasons to oppose and criticise in this space.

With all that said, and on the issue of ecommerce, which was the substance that Senator Steele-John was pursuing on this occasion: the AFTINET submission appears to overlook article 11.5, which provides for protection of privacy and enforcement of consumer protection rights. AFTINET overlooked articles that ensure the protection of rights in relation to legislating and regulating for legitimate public policy outcomes in relation to ecommerce or the like. Such matters include health policy, national security and the like. This is about ensuring that commerce has an ability to flow freely under a trade agreement, whether that is a physical trade of goods or indeed a trade of data. But the protections in relation to privacy, consumer protection rights, public policy outcomes, health and national security are all catered for.


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