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Wednesday, 26 November 1986
Page: 2834

Senator GARETH EVANS (Minister for Resources and Energy)(10.23) —I am perfectly happy to try to answer Senator Sir John Carrick's question. I am aware of some, at least, of the travaux preparatoires. I think I recall the communication from the Commission to which Senator Sir John Carrick refers. It may well be the case that a number of countries were not keen on signing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, except on the basis that Senator Sir John Carrick referred to. That does not necessarily conclude the matters as to what the proper interpretation of these clauses is. It is a relevant consideration, obviously, in interpreting them but it is a matter for investigation and careful legal analysis as to what the relevant international law is. That analysis has not been carried out in the form of a full scale reference to and report by the Commission. It is an analysis which would appear highly desirable in the Australian context, given the continuing controversy about electoral boundaries, laws and principles and the way in which they are protected or not, as the case may be-not only in Queensland as Senator Crichton-Browne points out, but elsewhere. I believe that these issues have been amply canvassed by now in this debate. There seems to be remarkably little interest in further pursuing any detailed discussion of clause 11 (1) (k) and the particular amendment moved by the Australian Democrats. Accordingly it is quite proper that I move, as I now do:

That the question be now put.