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Thursday, 17 October 1974
Page: 1815

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted? There being no objection, leave is granted. (The document read as follows)-

I am making these documents generally available to ensure that the Australian community, particularly the business community, is fully informed.

The Australian Government has been closely associated with international initiatives to achieve some harmonisation of the laws of all countries relating to international trade.

Early in 1973 this Government caused Australia to join two important organisations which work towards international harmonisation of law; the Hague Conference on Private International Law and the International Institute for the Unification of Private Law (UNIDROIT). Australia is now actively involved in the work of these bodies.

However, the most important body working on these matters in the world today is UNCITRAL the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law. Australia has been a member of UNCITRAL since its inception in 1968. It is represented at Commission meetings by the Solicitor-General and officers of the Attorney-General's Department.

The preparatory work on the Convention on the Limitation Period in the International sale of goods was carried out by UNCITRAL. The draft convention is the first produced by UNCITRAL. The Government is currently considering whether to implement the Convention throughout Australia.

UNCITRAL is presently engaged on preparatory work for new conventions dealing with the international sale of goods, the carriage of goods by sea and international negotiable instruments.

The Government has recognized that, with all these initiatives taking place internationally, there is a need to keep the particular requirements of Australian business clearly in mind.

My Department has all along consulted with Australian organisations interested in these developments, but it was felt that more needed to be done.

To this end the Department organized a meeting on international trade law to discuss current initiatives in the area with Australian businessmen and lawyers. One document I have tabled today contains papers presented at this meeting and a summary of the discussions. The lawyers present at the meeting included teachers of law from all the law schools of Australian universities. The meeting therefore served the purpose also of providing background for the training of Australia's future lawyers.

The meeting was highly successful. It is intended now to hold such a meeting at least once a year.

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