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Monday, 3 November 2003
Page: 21896

Mr McClelland asked the Attorney-General, upon notice, on 17 September 2003:

Will he update the information he gave concerning conventions in the Hague Conference system in the answer to question No. 905 (Hansard, 11 November 2002, page 8746).

Mr Ruddock (Attorney-General) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

Since the answer given by the previous Attorney-General, Mr Daryl Williams AM QC MP, of 11 November 2002 (Hansard, 11 November 2002, page 8746), Australia has ratified one additional Convention, The Hague Convention of 19 October 1996 on Jurisdiction, Applicable Law, Recognition, Enforcement and Co-operation in respect of Parental Responsibility and Measures for the Protection of Children. This Convention was ratified by Australia on 29 April 2003 and entered into force on 1 August 2003. Australia has therefore now ratified or acceded to ten Hague Conventions.

The Attorney-General's Department's work on Hague Conference matters is currently focused on administrative work required under those Conventions to which Australia is a party and participation in the following Special Commissions at The Hague:

between 28 October and 4 November 2003 on the practical operation of the judicial assistance Conventions (the 1970 Convention on the Taking of Evidence Abroad in Civil or Commercial Matters, the 1961 Convention Abolishing the Requirement of Legalisation for Foreign Public Documents (to both of which Australia is a party) and the 1965 Convention on the Service Abroad of Judicial and Extrajudicial Documents in Civil or Commercial Matters). The Attorney-General's Department is reviewing whether Australia should accede to this latter Convention; and

between 1 and 9 December 2003 to consider a draft text of the proposed Convention on Jurisdiction and Recognition of Foreign Judgments in Civil and Commercial Matters.

The Department also recently participated in December 2002 in meetings of the Special Commission on the proposed Convention on the Law Applicable to Certain Rights in respect of Securities held with an Intermediary (at which the draft text for the Convention was substantially finalised - implementation is now being considered by the Department of Treasury), in April 2003 in the Special Commission on General Affairs and Policy, and in May 2003 in the Special Commission to develop a new world-wide Convention on the Recovery of Maintenance (concerning the international recovery of child support and other forms of family maintenance).

Australia's contribution to the Hague Conference for the financial year 2003-2004 is 96,974 euros (75,596 euros for the Regular Budget and 21,378 euros for the Supplementary Budget), approximately $165,680 as at 1 October 2003.

The previous Attorney-General, Mr Williams, visited The Hague and met with Mr Hans van Loon, Secretary-General of The Hague Conference, on 2 October 2003 to discuss Australia's participation in the work of the Conference.