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Thursday, 30 June 1994
Page: 2367


Senator SPINDLER —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

  That the Senate—

  (a)notes that, every time there has been an attempt to reform the manner in which Australia interacts with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, the reform process has been subverted, and that the evidence is that:

    (i)in 1975, the Treasury ignored an express Cabinet decision to pass their aid responsibilities, that is, their role in multilateral development agency matters, to the Government aid agency of the day, the Australian Development Assistance Agency,

    (ii)in 1986, 1989 and 1991, the Government rejected Australian Democrat amendments aimed at improving the accountability to Parliament of Australia's role in the World Bank and the IMF, breaking the Treasury stranglehold on representation in these bodies,

    (iii)in 1989, the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade in its report on Third World debt made a number of recommendations aimed at reforming Australia's approach to the IMF and the World Bank,

    (iv)in 1990, after an inexcusable 14-month delay in responding to the report of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, the Government rejected its major recommendations, which was nearly unprecedented, given that the majority report was supported by Government members of the committee,

    (v)in 1991, the Government effectively limited debate on the annual reports to Parliament on Australia and the IMF and Australia and the World Bank,

    (vi)in 1993, the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade made more recommendations aimed at improving accountability to Parliament in its report on Australia, the World Bank and the IMF, including a recommendation that the Government's annual report on these institutions should include discussion of Australia's voting patterns, and

    (vii)more than 9 months later, there has still been no Government response and the tabled 1993 annual reports were once again bland, descriptive documents which do not discuss Australia's voting patterns;

  (b)deplores that the Government has shown intransigent unwillingness to improve accountability to Parliament of Australia's role in the World Bank and the IMF;

  (c)calls on the Government to respond quickly and positively to the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade report; and

  (d)notes that the Australian Democrats will pursue this matter in the Spring sittings.