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Wednesday, 14 August 1974
Page: 878

Senator MILLINER (QUEENSLAND) - Has the attention of the Minister for Foreign Affairs been drawn to the text of a recent newspaper article which describes the draft of the Treaty of Nara- the treaty to be concluded between Japan and Australiaas being so drained of content as to be meaningless? In view of the importance of Japan's relations with Australia will the Minister assure the Senate that the Treaty to be negotiated will reflect that importance?

Senator WILLESEE - Yes. The last part of the question is really what the Nara Treaty is all about. I did see the article. The situation at the moment is that our people have just been to Tokyo. Their discussions centred on the Australian revision of the Japanese draft. We gave the Japanese a draft. They gave us one back. The third talks aimed at ironing them out. The fourth talks are to take place in Canberra fairly soon. The date has not been fixed but I hope that it will be within a month or two. A lot has been said about the Nara Treaty. I would not like anyone to obtain false ideas about it. I am quite sure that they could gain false ideas by reading a recent misleading article to which Senator Milliner has referred. It suggests that the Treaty is shaping up very differently from the original conception and is devoid of content.

It is quite true that the Treaty is unlikely to set out detailed rules and regulations or rights and obligations, as treaties usually do. It is not that type of treaty. The Nara Treaty was not conceived as just another treaty, such as the Trade Agreement or the Migratory Birds Agreement which were specific. It is to be a broad treaty, setting the framework of Japanese- Australian relations, enabling the 2 Governments to put agreements already concluded into a broad context and also to establish the basis for further cooperation, including new agreements on specific matters. An important purpose of the treaty is to express in a more formal and symbolic way the friendship, the community of interests and indeed the inter-dependence which exist between the 2 countries. It should be noted, I think, that neither Japan nor Australia has concluded, or indeed sought, such an agreement with any other country before. I think this in itself is a mark of the close relationship which already exists and which both countries wish to formalise, stabilise and broaden.

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