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Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 1995



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Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) (Consequential

Amendments) Bill 1995

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Warning:

This Digest was prepared for debate and reflects the legislation as introduced but

does not canvass subsequent amendments.

This Digest was available on

PDBS from 13 June 1995

Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 1995

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Date Introduced: 29 March 1995

House: Senate

Portfolio: Foreign Affairs and Trade

Commencement: Royal Assent

Purpose

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the:

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Crimes (Internationally Protected Persons) Act 1976;

Diplomatic and Consular Missions Act 1978; and the

Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Act 1971

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in order to provide for the protection of overseas missions which may be created as a result of the Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) Bill 1995.

Background

Th e Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) Bill 1995 allows the Minister to make regulations giving diplomatic privileges and immunities to representatives of self- governing territories and autonomous areas. The background issues to that Bill are canvassed in Bills Digest Service No 98 of 1995. This Bill involves amendments to legislation which flow on as a natural consequence of the declaration of an overseas mission.

Financial Impact

Since the legislation provides the Government with the power to create overseas missions rather than actually creating such missions through the legislation, it is not possible to specify the financial implications. However when overseas missions are created there will be costs involved in the protection supplied by the Australian Protective Service. The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade claim that the economic gain for Australia through the presence of overseas missions is likely to outweigh the costs of protecting the missions.

Main Provisions

Main Amendments Contained in Schedule to Bill

(1) Schedule 1: Australian Protective Service Act 1987

Items 2 4 provide for the Protective Service to cover the properties of overseas missions created under the Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) Act 1995.

(2) Schedule 2: Crimes (Internationally Protected Persons) Act 1976

Item 2 introduces an expanded definition of an 'internationally protected person'. Consequently the head or staff of an overseas mission may be protected under the provisions of the legislation, which implements the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes Against Internationally Protected Persons, Including Diplomatic Agents.

(3) Schedule 3: Diplomatic and Consular Missions Act 1978

The Diplomatic and Consular Missions Act 1978 seeks to prevent the improper use of diplomatic and consular signs and titles. Schedule 3 of the Overseas Missions (Privileges and Immunities) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 1995 gives overseas missions a similar protection - while exempting overseas missions from the prohibitions in the Diplomatic and Consular Missions Act 1978 which would generally operate to prevent the use of a country's signs, flags or insignia by any body other than the diplomatic or consular mission.

Item 2 incorporates definitions used in the Overseas Missions (privileges and Immunities) Act into the Diplomatic and Consular Missions Act 1978.

Item 5 exempts designated overseas missions from the provisions which allow the Government to prevent the use of a country's signs, flags or insignia by any body other than the diplomatic or consular mission.

Item 6extends the protections offered to diplomatic or consular missions against the misuse of their country's signs, flags or insignia to designated overseas missions.

Item 8 allows the Minister to provide certificates which specify whether a mission is a designated overseas mission, whether a residence is covered by the provisions of the Act and whether particular actions are covered by the Act.

(3) Schedule 4: Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property)

Act 1971

The amendments in Schedule 4 will extend the particular protections provided for in the Public Order (Protection of Persons and Property) Act 1971 to designated overseas missions and the staff of these missions. So, for instance, the police will have special powers to disperse potentially violent assemblies taking place in or near a designated overseas mission, and there are special penalties for violence towards the prescribed members of staff of a designated overseas mission.

Item 5 provides the power for regulations to be made under the Public Order Act which may define members of designated overseas missions as protected persons.

Kirsty Magarey (277 2764)

Bills Digest Service

Parliamentary Research Service 13 June 1995

This Digest does not have any legal status. Other sources should be consulted to determine whether the Bill has been enacted and, if so, whether the subsequent Act reflects further amendments.

Commonwealth of Australia 1995.

Except to the extent of the uses permitted under the Copyright Act 1968, no part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without the prior written consent of the Parliamentary Library, other than by Members of the Australian Parliament in the course of their official duties.

Published by the Department of the Parliamentary Library, 1995.