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Tuesday, 7 October 2003
Page: 20754

Mr Kerr asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, upon notice, on 11 August 2003:

Would he identify each of the multilateral treaties deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and open for signature that Australia is not (a) a signatory to, (b) has not ratified, and (c) has not given effect to through domestic legislation.

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

(a) (b) and (c) Since the creation of the United Nations, successive Australian governments have chosen to take action on UN multilateral treaties that are recorded in all 29 chapters of the Status Lists of Multilateral Treaties deposited with the Secretary-General. These chapters include details of treaties Australia has not signed and has not ratified. Decisions to sign or to take binding treaty action through the years have been taken in the national interest. Successive Australian governments have had the policy of ratifying treaties only where they can be given effect domestically, including through legislation.

The work required to answer the honourable member's question would involve a significant diversion of resources within the department and I am not prepared to authorise the use of these resources. The information requested is available publicly, and may be obtained from the website of the United Nations at