Chapter 1 - Introduction
On 26 May 2010, the Autonomous Sanctions Bill 2010 (the bill) was
introduced into the House of Representatives. By resolution of the Senate, the
provisions of the bill were referred to the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade
Legislation Committee on 26 May for inquiry and report by 15 June. On
15 June, the Senate granted an extension of the time to report to 26 August
On 19 July 2010, the Governor-General prorogued the 42nd
Parliament and dissolved the House of Representatives. After due consideration,
the committee reported to the Senate that it had resolved not to continue its
inquiry into the provisions of the bill. On 30 September, the bill was
reintroduced in the House of Representatives and on the same day the Senate
referred the provisions of the bill to the committee for inquiry and report by
18 November 2010. The Senate granted an extension until the end of
the first sitting period in February 2011 (3 March 2011).
The Senate Standing Committee for the Scrutiny of Bills considered the
bill and raised a number of concerns,
which are discussed in chapter 3. When recommending the proposed legislation
for inquiry and report, the Selection of Bills Committee identified the
domestic privacy implications of the bill as an issue for consideration.
This matter is also discussed in chapter 3.
Purpose of the bill
The purpose of the bill is to establish a framework for the implementation,
enforcement and administration of autonomous sanctions. Autonomous sanctions are
'punitive measures, not involving the use of force, which a government imposes
as a matter of foreign policy—as opposed to an international obligation under a
UN Security Council decision'.
The latter measures are referred to as 'UN sanctions'.
According to the Explanatory Memorandum (EM), autonomous sanctions are
limit the adverse consequences of a situation of international
concern (for example, by denying access to military or paramilitary goods, or
to goods, technologies or funding enabling programs of proliferation concern);
influence those responsible for giving rise to the situation of
international concern to modify their behaviour to remove the concern (by
motivating them to adopt different policies); and
penalise those responsible (for example, by denying access to
international travel or to the international financial system).
Autonomous sanctions may be applied to specific governments, individuals
or entities, or specific goods and services that are responsible for, or
involved with, a situation of international concern. According to the EM, these
measures may be supplementary to, or independent of, UN Security Council sanctions.
Autonomous sanctions are 'likely to play an increasing part in responses of
like‑minded countries to situations of concern'.
The proposed legislation aims to expand the range of autonomous sanctions
that Australia can implement to ensure that such measures match the scope and
extent of those implemented by like-minded countries. The bill is also intended
to create a flexible administrative framework to enable timely responses to
situations of international concern.
The bill is modelled on the Charter of the United Nations Act 1945 (Cth)
(UN Charter Act), which establishes a framework for the
implementation, enforcement and administration of UN sanctions. This is
intended to harmonise the administration of autonomous and UN sanctions and
Conduct of the inquiry
The committee advertised the inquiry on its website and in the Australian
on 5, 9, 16 and 30 June, 14 July, 11 August and 13
October 2010. It wrote to relevant ministers and departments calling for
written submissions and also contacted a number of other organisations,
commentators and academics inviting them to make submissions to the inquiry.
The committee received six submissions which are listed at Appendix 1. The
committee agreed that, based on these submissions, a public hearing was not
The committee thanks all those who assisted with the inquiry.
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