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Thursday, 28 November 1985
Page: 2471


Senator BOLKUS —I direct my question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. It is a question that may provide assistance for Senator Chaney against the colleagues behind him. Will the Minister say what action, if any, the Australian Government has taken to ratify the United Nations Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, which was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on Human Rights Day-10 December-last year?


Senator WALSH —I am sure that Senator Bolkus knows that Australian officials have played an active role in the lengthy, seven-year negotiation of the United Nations Convention against Torture, aimed at achieving a text which could serve as an effective weapon against torture. Our emphasis was on a convention with strong implementation provisions. Australia was also a co-sponsor of the United Nations resolution providing for adoption of the convention, and all formalities for Australian signature have been completed. Mr Hayden has announced the Government's imminent signature of the convention, as have our representatives at the United Nations General Assembly. It is expected that it will be signed by Australia in New York as soon as appropriate arrangements for the ceremony have been made by the United Nations Secretariat, and consultations prior to ratification will now be pursued with State governments, the Northern Territory Government and other relevant Federal authorities.