This report contains the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties’ review of the following treaty actions:
Agreement between Australia and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay on the Promotion and Protection of Investments (Canberra, 5 April 2019); and
United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration (New York, 10 December 2014); and
Convention establishing the Square Kilometre Array Observatory (Rome, 12 March 2019).
The Committee’s resolution of appointment empowers it to inquire into any treaty to which Australia has become a signatory, on the treaty being tabled in the Parliament.
The treaties, and matters arising from them, are evaluated to ensure that ratification is in the national interest, and that unintended or negative effects on Australia will not arise.
Prior to tabling, major treaty actions are subject to a National Interest Analysis (NIA), prepared by Government. This document considers arguments for and against the treaty, outlines the treaty obligations and any regulatory or financial implications, and reports the results of consultations undertaken with State and Territory Governments, Federal, State and Territory agencies, and with industry or non-government organisations.
A Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) may accompany the NIA. The RIS provides an account of the regulatory impact of the treaty action where adoption of the treaty will involve a change in the regulatory environment for Australian business.
The Committee takes account of these documents in its examination of the treaty text, in addition to other evidence taken during the inquiry program.
None of the treaty actions examined in this report required a RIS.
Copies of the treaties considered in this report and the associated documentation may be obtained from the Committee Secretariat or accessed through the Committee’s website at:
Conduct of the Committee’s review
The treaty actions reviewed in this report were advertised on the Committee website from their respective dates of referral. For the Agreement between Australia and the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, submissions were requested by 23 August 2019 and by 6 September and 30 September 2019, for the United Nations Convention on Transparency and the Convention establishing the Square Kilometre Array Observatory, respectively.
The Committee held public hearings into those treaty actions in Canberra on 16 September and 14 October 2019. The transcripts of evidence from the public hearings may be obtained from the Committee Secretariat or accessed through the Committee’s website as listed above.
A list of submissions received for the inquiries is at Appendix A. A list of witnesses who appeared at the public hearings is at Appendix B.