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Tuesday, 7 December 2004
Page: 57

Senator GREIG (Western Australia) (3.43 p.m.)—I move:

That the Senate—

(a) recalls that on 2 December 2002 a proposed agreement between Australia and the United States of America (US), pursuant to which Australia would agree not to surrender US nationals to the International Criminal Court without the consent of the US (the proposed agreement) was referred to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties for inquiry and report;

(b) notes correspondence from the secretary of the committee to the Clerk of the Senate, dated 16 July 2003, which:

(i) stated that `as far as the Committee is aware, there is no such proposed agreement' and that it had `therefore decided to defer commencing the inquiry into the matter referred until the text of such an agreement is made available to the Committee', and

(ii) however, acknowledged that `the Committee is empowered to inquire into any question relating to a treaty or other international agreement, whether or not negotiated to completion, referred to the Committee by either House';

(c) further notes:

(i) the report on ABC Radio's PMprogram of 28 August 2002, that the US had written to the Australian Government, requesting it to enter into the proposed agreement and that, according to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, the Government was `sympathetic' to the request,

(ii) the report on Network Nine's Sunday program of 8 September 2002, in which the then Attorney-General indicated that the US had requested Australia to enter into the proposed agreement and that the Australian Government had no objection to the proposed agreement, and

(iii) evidence from Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade officials on 19 February 2004 that negotiations with the US were ongoing and that, at that time, the most recent meeting had been in December 2003; and

(d) recalls that on 30 August 2004, it again referred the proposed agreement to the committee for inquiry and report by 30 April 2005;

(e) notes that:

(i) the committee had not commenced the inquiry prior to the proroguing of the 40th Parliament, and

(ii) the reference lapsed with the proroguing of the 40th Parliament; and

(f) refers the proposed agreement, with particular reference to the following matters, to the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties for inquiry and report by 30 June 2005:

(i) whether the proposed agreement would breach the terms, or be otherwise inconsistent with the spirit, of the Rome Statute which Australia has ratified,

(ii) the effect of the proposed agreement, either itself or in conjunction with similar agreements between the United States and other states, on the ability of the International Criminal Court to effectively fulfil its intended function,

(iii) the implications of any extradition provisions in the proposed agreement and whether the proposed agreement would require the re-negotiation of existing extradition agreements to which Australia is a party, and

(iv) the implications of the proposed agreement with respect to Australia's national interest.

Question agreed to.