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Thursday, 15 November 1973
Page: 3367

Mr KILLEN (MORETON, QUEENSLAND) - I address my question to the Prime Minister. It concerns the establishment of an institute of international law. By way of very brief preface may I observe that a very distinguished former Foreign Minister whose career was somewhat disturbed by the vagaries of political existence - I refer to His Honour

Mr JusticeBowen said in this House on one occasion that be saw very considerable merit in the establishment of such an institute. I ask the Prime Minister, having regard to the Law of the Sea Conference to be held next year and the great complexities attaching to determining a regime for the control of the seabed, whether he will consider making a contemporary assessment of the merits of such a suggestion.

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Prime Minister) - I will be very happy indeed to respond to the honourable and learned gentleman's suggestion. He and I wen both sufficiently in the confidence of my predecessor as Foreign Minister - Mr Justice Bowen, as he now is - to know how much he was interested in this proposal. I think the honourable member will remember that one reason why it did not go ahead was that the person he had in mind as the first director of the institute transferred from his Chair in Australia to the most distinguished Chair of international law in the common law world - the Chichele Chair at Oxford. I will find out what is the present position of the plans. The honourable gentleman will realise that this will involve me consulting with my former Department of Foreign Affairs and also with my colleague the Attorney-General. I am sure the honourable member will appreciate what has been done by my Government in respect to the Rome Institute, The Hague Institute and the International Commission of Jurists, in respect of all of which there is an appropriation in this year's Budget. He will also be interested to know that one of the last things I did as Foreign Minister was to put in train the establishment of an international law division in the Department of Foreign Affairs based on the Canadian model.

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