Terms of Reference

The Commonwealth’s treaty-making process, particularly in light of the growing number of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements Australian governments have entered into or are currently negotiating, including:

  1. the role of the Parliament and the Executive in negotiating, approving and reviewing treaties;
  2. the role of parliamentary committees in reviewing and reporting on proposed treaty action and implementation;
  3. the role of other consultative bodies including the Commonwealth-State-Territory Standing Committee on Treaties and the Treaties Council;
  4. development of the national interest analysis and related materials currently presented to Parliament;
  5. development of the national interest analysis and related materials not currently presented to parliament, such as the inclusion of environmental impact statements;
  6. the scope for independent assessment and analysis of treaties before ratification;
  7. the scope for government, stakeholder and independent review of treaties after implementation;
  8. the current processes for public and stakeholder consultation and opportunities for greater openness, transparency and accountability in negotiating treaties;
  9. a comparison of the consultation procedures and benchmarks included by our trading partners in their trade agreements;
  10. exploration of what an agreement which incorporates fair trade principles would look like, such as the role of environmental and labour standard chapters; and
  11. related matters.

Committee Secretariat contact:

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee
Department of the Senate
PO Box 6100
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Phone: +61 2 6277 3535