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Monday, 21 October 2002
Page: 5511

Senator KEMP (Minister for the Arts and Sport) (4:48 PM) —I thought I would speak briefly about the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties report, particularly as Senator Chris Ellison is in the chamber. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to see a Labor senator talking about treaties and the careful consideration of treaties by the treaties committee. I recall when we were on the other side of the chamber the foreign minister would sometimes come in and dump on the chamber scores of treaties, none of which had been considered by the parliament. One of the procedures that a number of us were very keen to have adopted was a more considered approach to treaty making by this parliament. Senator Chris Ellison and his committee that inquired into this matter were able to build on a lot of good work by others and they made some proposals. Many of those proposals were adopted, including the proposal to form a treaties committee. I wish to record this because Senator Ellison is now in the chamber, and I had a particular interest in this matter for some considerable time. The secretary of that committee was a Ms Twomey, who did an absolutely outstanding job. The report Trick or treaty?—if I remember rightly—was a landmark report of that Senate committee. As I said, I think this was a very important change in the procedures of the Senate. It was a very good change in the procedures of this parliament. It meant that, for the first time, treaties could be examined in an appropriate matter.

Senator KEMP —Senator O'Brien carries on, but he was part of that group, I suspect, which was completely opposed to the proper consideration of treaties. Senator Kirk, it was a pleasure to hear your speech. It was a pleasure to hear about the careful consideration that was given to treaties by this committee. I commend the committee for its strong work.

Question agreed to.