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Tuesday, 10 March 1998
Page: 915

Mr Barry Jones asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 27 October 1997:

(1) Further to his answer to question No. 72 (Hansard , 20 August 1996, page 3286), what has been the outcome of efforts to (a) improve the Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (The Hague, 1954), and (b) make Australia a party to the Protocol for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict (The Hague, 1954).

Mr Downer (Foreign Affairs) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) (a) There has been little progress at the international level to make improvements to the Hague Convention. States Parties to the Convention, including Australia met for a third time on 13 November 1997 with the purpose of discussing the possible review of the Convention. However, it is our understanding that no definitive steps for review are planned at this stage.

(1) (b) No decision has been made as to whether Australia is to become a party to the Protocol to the Hague Convention. The Department of Communications and the Arts, the Department of Defence, the Attorney-General's Department and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade will continue to review this issue at the inter-agency level. Further consultations, including with State and Territory governments in accordance with the normal treaty-making process, would also be required before any decision is taken on this matter.