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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14668


Mr JOSH WILSON (Fremantle) (17:08): I present the report of the Australian Parliamentary Delegation's bilateral visit to Romania from 8 to 13 October 2018 and its attendance at the 139th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union held in Geneva, Switzerland, from 14 to 18 October 2018, and I ask leave of the House to make a short statement in connection with the report.

Leave granted.

Mr JOSH WILSON: I'm glad of the opportunity to make some brief remarks upon the tabling of the report of the Australian Parliamentary Delegation to Romania and to 139th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union in Geneva, Switzerland. The delegation, led by Senator Macdonald, and also including Senator Polley from the other place, the member for Ryan and me, was the first to visit Romania in more than a decade, and it coincided with the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries.

In addition to meeting with government ministers and members of the Romanian parliament and having the privilege of witnessing their committee process in action, we were grateful for the chance to meet with Australian businesspeople based in Romania at a meeting facilitated by Australia's honorary consul, Mrs Mihaela Nicola. It was a particular privilege to visit the Damen shipyards at Galati in Romania and to walk aboard and inspect a soon-to-be Australian vessel, the RSV Nuyina, whose construction was nearing completion. The Nuyina, whose name is the Tasmanian Aboriginal word for 'southern lights', is the next generation Australian icebreaker and will replace the Aurora Australis. It is an incredible vessel. It has numerous state-of-the-art features and is designed to be the foundation of Australia's Antarctic strategy for the next 20 years. It is expected to be delivered in early 2020. It incorporates new measuring and monitoring technologies that are critical to understanding the extent and impacts of climate change, especially in the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic.

The delegation's visit to Romania was thoughtfully and professionally supported by the Ambassador to Romania, Her Excellency Kate Logan, assisted by Deputy Head of Mission, Mr Andrea Vigi and Ms Louise Kalfagian. The delegation then attended and participated in the 13th assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, where the general debate topic was 'Parliamentary leadership in promoting peace and development in the age of innovation and technological change'. Senator Macdonald, the delegation leader, made a contribution to that debate. Together with Senator Polley and the member for Ryan, the delegation engaged in the work of the IPU standing committees and forums, including the forum of women parliamentarians.

As is always the case, the IPU assembly was an opportunity for us to meet with other parliamentary delegations. We were pleased to discuss matters of mutual interest with delegations from the UK, Canada, the Arab parliament, Israel and a group of Pacific Island nations including Fiji, Tonga, Samoa, Timor-Leste and the Federated States of Micronesia. As co-rapporteur in the Standing Committee on Sustainable Development, Finance and Trade, I was glad to work with colleagues from Serbia and Ghana in conducting the debate on our proposed resolution topic—'The role of fair and free trade and investment in achieving the SDGs, especially regarding economic equality, sustainable infrastructure, industrialisation and innovation.'

I thank my Australian parliamentary colleagues for their support of my election to the committee to promote respect for international humanitarian law as a representative from the Asia-Pacific geopolitical group, to which we belong. On behalf of the delegation, I thank and acknowledge our delegation Secretary, Toni Matulick, for her always good-natured, good-humoured and ultra-professional assistance which she has provided to IPU delegations throughout the 45th Parliament. The IPU is an important forum in which parliamentarians from parliaments around the world consider matters of international significance, bringing our own national perspectives and always considering the ways in which parliamentary systems can represent the interests of our communities, guide the executive and make laws in delivering good government. It has been a privilege and a joy to undertake that work in this parliament.