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Government rushing Defence Trade Controls Bill for all the wrong reasons

The Australian Greens today warned against the Federal Government rushing flawed legislation through Parliament to coincide with the November visit of US Secretary of State Hilary Clinton and Secretary of Defence Leon Panetta.

"It is unacceptable for the government to schedule a Bill for debate before the Senate Committee has finished studying it. In the name of increased defence research ties between Australia and the US, the government risks seriously disadvantaging Australian researchers and sending a chill through the academic community," said Senator for Western Australia Scott Ludlam, Australian Greens spokesperson Assisting on Defence.

"The Defence Trade Controls Bill is a complex bill, currently being scrutinised by the Senate Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade Committee. The government should let the Committee do its job. As it stands, this bill will impose unacceptable restrictions on Australian research endeavours, for no identifiable reason.
"In its preliminary report the Committee asked the Defence Department to go back and consult the university sector as it should have in the first place. I understand that while some round table discussions have occurred chaired by the Chief Scientist, a consensus has not yet been reached.

"The Committee also told the government to bring this legislation back when it was no longer a work in progress. Without doubt, it remains a work in progress.

"It is more important that the parliament be able to get this Bill right rather than provide the Minister a media sound bite for the November visit."


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