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Thursday, 6 March 2003
Page: 9396


Senator NETTLE (1:13 PM) —I move the following amendment:

2) Page 15 (after line 10), at the end of the bill, add:

27 Reference to International Court of Justice by addition of paragraph (e) to Annex E under Article 9(b) of Treaty

(1) The Commonwealth considers that equity with East Timor requires the addition of the following paragraph to Annex E under Article 9(b) of the Treaty:

(e) The question of the permanent delimitation of the seabed between Australia and East Timor must be referred by the Commonwealth to the International Court of Justice in 2003 and the Court's ruling shall be accepted as determining the matter.

(2) The Commonwealth will during 2003 seek agreement with East Timor for this amendment to the Treaty.

As I mentioned previously, in March 2002 Australia withdrew from the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice over the determination of maritime boundaries. In doing so it has thwarted East Timor's ability to determine maritime boundaries with Australia in accordance with internationally accepted principles. It has also undermined its ability to claim its maritime resources, which appear to be significantly greater than those contained within the Joint Petroleum Development Area, the area covered by the Timor Sea Treaty. The determination of maritime boundaries is regularly done by application to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. By withdrawing from the International Court of Justice, Australia has refused to be bound by the internationally accepted norms of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and has thus used bullying tactics to disadvantage East Timor. I commend this amendment to the Senate.