House of Representatives Committees

Contents


Foreword
Membership of the Committee
Resolution of appointment
List of abbreviations
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 An overview of the seminar
Chapter 3 Assessing the 1996 Reforms in 2006
Appendix A – Program
Appendix B – List of Participants
Appendix C - Transcript
Appendix D – Speech by the Hon Alexander Downer MP, Minister for Foreign Affairs
Appendix E – Additional Papers

Foreword

The seminar Treaty Scrutiny: A Ten Year Review was held on 30-31 March 2006 to mark ten years of operation of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT).

Under the Australian Constitution tre aty-making is the formal responsibility of the Executive Government. The Constitution does not confer on the Parliament any formal role in tre aty making. Nevertheless, through the work of JSCOT, the Parliament plays an important role in examining all proposed tre aty actions that are tabled in Parliament.

Prior to the establishment of JSCOT, during the 1970s, treaties were tabled in Parliament but often in a manner which prevented meaningful Parliamentary scrutiny or input. Treaties were tabled in bulk, approximately every six months and often after they had entered into force.

By the 1990s Australia had entered into a period of negotiating a broader range of treaties - some of them quite controversial. There was also a growing awareness that intern ational oblig ations affected domestic legal regimes and policy responses to a wide range of national issues. In recognition that Parliament ought to be able to scrutinise Australia’s international treaty obligations, JSCOT was established in May 1996.

Over the last ten years significant steps have been taken to improve the openness and transparency of tre aty making in Australia. Proposed tre aty actions are tabled in Parliament before they enter into force and treaty texts and the rationale for entering into them are made readily accessible to the people of Australia. There are also mechanisms in place to ensure th at the St ates and Territories are consulted on actions which may affect them.

After ten years of JSCOT it was fitting th at a seminar be conducted to assess the 1996 reforms and to look more broadly at the role of the legislature in the treaty making process, both here and overseas.

Dr Andrew Southcott MP

Chair

Membership of the Committee

Chair

Dr Andrew Southcott MP

 

Deputy Chair

Mr Kim Wilkie MP

 

Members

Hon Dick Adams MP

Senator Andrew Bartlett

 

Mr Michael Johnson MP

Senator Carol Brown

 

Mr Michael Keenan MP

Senator Brett Mason

 

Mrs Margaret May MP

Senator Julian McGauran

 

Mrs Sophie Mirabella MP

Senator Glenn Sterle

 

Mr Bernie Ripoll MP

Senator Russell Trood

 

Hon Bruce Scott MP

Senator Dana Wortley

 

 

 

Committee Secretariat

Secretary

 

 

 

Seminar Coordinator

James Rees

(from 29/5/2006 )

Gillian Gould

(until 28/4/2006 )

Serica Mackay

Seminar Staff

Heidi Luschtinetz

 

Stephanie Mikac

 

Janet Holmes

 

Peter Banson

 

Clare James

 

Gaye Milner

Resolution of appointment

The Resolution of Appointment of the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties allows it to inquire into and report upon:

  1. matters arising from treaties and related National Interest Analyses and proposed treaty actions presented or deemed to be presented to the Parliament;
  2. any question relating to a treaty or other international instrument, whether or not negotiated to completion, referred to the committee by:
    1. either House of the Parliament, or
    2. a Minister; and
  3. such other matters as may be referred to the committee by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and on such conditions as the Minister may prescribe.

List of abbreviations

AP6

Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate Change

ASEAN

Association of South East Asian Nations

Austlii

Australasian Legal Information Institute

COAG

Council of Australian Governments

FTA

Free Trade Agreement

ICCPR

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

JSCOT

Joint Standing Committee on Treaties

NIA

National Interest Analysis

SCOT

Standing Committee on Treaties

UN

United Nations

WA

Western Australia

WTO

World Trade Organisation

Print Preliminary Page (PDF 77KB) < - Report Home  : Chapter 1 - >

Back to top

Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Add | Email Print
Back to top