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Wednesday, 23 May 1973
Page: 2508


Mr ENDERBY (Australian Capital Territory) (Minister for the Capital Territory, Minister for the Northern Territory and Acting Attorney-General) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Montreal Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts Against the Safety of Civil Aviation was signed for Australia on 12 October 1972. Following ratification by the tenth signatory State, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the convention came into force on 28 January 1973. This Bill together with some necessary amendments to the Extradition Acts, to which I shall refer later, will enable Australia to ratify the convention.

The Montreal Convention is the third international convention in recent years dealing with the problem of the disruption of civil aviation by terrorism, hijacking, personal acts of violence and the destruction or interference with aviation facilities. The other related conventions are the Tokyo Convention on Offences and Certain Other Acts Committed on Board Aircraft, which was implemented by the Civil Aviation (Offenders on International Aircraft) Act 1970, and the Hague Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft implemented by the Crimes (Hijacking of Aircraft) Act 1972.

Australia is one of the world's principal aviation nations and accordingly played its part in the formation of the Montreal Convention in 1971. The main purposes of the Bill are to approve ratification by Australia of the convention, to make provisions in Australia for the offences created by the convention, to provide the necessary procedures with respect to the detention and custody of offenders and for their prosecution. There is also provision for the holding of a preliminary inquiry into the facts relating to the offences, as provided by article 6 of the convention, the findings of which are, under the convention, to be reported to other interested parties.

The offences created by the convention are enumerated in article I. As the English text of the convention its set out in the Schedule to the Bill i need not detail those offences. It is, I think, sufficient to say that sub-clause 7. (1) of the Bill, which creates the offences for Australia, has adopted the language of the convention in its entirety.

At the same time, however, the opportunity has been taken to extend the scope of operation of the Bill beyond that of the convention, where the interests of Australia are considered to require that extension. Accordingly sub-clause 7. (2) of the Bill applies to offences committed by Australian citizens anywhere in the world and to offences involving either Australian Government or visiting government aircraft. The convention is, of course, confined to offences in relation to civil aviation only.

Article 3 of the convention requires that the offences be made punishable by severe penalties of imprisonment for 14 years and vides that the 2 more serious offences carry penalties of imprisonment for 14 years and the other 3 offences penalties of imprisonment for 7 years. Those penalties are substantially the same as those provided in the Crimes (Aircraft) Act 1963.

The remaining provisions of the Bill create the necessary machinery for dealing with offenders. In view of the fact that the Montreal Convention is, except for the provisions creating the offences, identical in terms with the Hague Convention, the provisions of the present Bill are for all practical purposes the same as those of the Crimes (Hijacking of Aircraft) Act 1972.

A further consequence of that identity of terms is that additional provisions will be required to implement the terms of article 8 which permits the use of the Montreal Convention as a basis for extradition in appropriate cases. Accordingly the earliest opportunity will be taken to introduce amendments to the Extradition (Commonwealth Countries) and Extradition (Foreign States) Acts. The amendments will be very similar to the amendments made to those Acts last year for the purpose of implementing the Hague Convention. This Bill will enable Australia to take a further important step in the protection of aviation in Australia and elsewhere.

I commend the Bill to the House.

Leave granted for debate to continue forthwith.







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