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Thursday, 1 June 1989
Page: 3238

Senator ARCHER —I seek leave to table the report of the Australian parliamentary delegation to the Seventy-ninth Conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, and to make some brief comments.

Leave granted.

Senator ARCHER —I table the report of the Australian parliamentary delegation to the Seventy-ninth conference of the Inter-Parliamentary Union. The delegation from the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) which met in Guatemala on 11 to 16 April 1988, under the leadership of the Hon. Tom Uren, enjoyed a very good relationship and good fellowship, and there were absolutely no problems of any sort-unlike the situation to which Senator Michael Baume alluded. With no problems and no minority reports, I find it extraordinarily difficult to understand why it has taken from 11 to 16 April last year until 1 June this year to get a perfectly simple report before the Senate. But so be it.

Ninety-five countries were represented at the IPU, and there were 689 delegates. In addition to debates on peace and development and environmental issues, there was a general debate. This produced considerable hot discussion and much disagreement between the parties, and often tended to make the debate less than useful. I see the IPU as being a good organisation to broaden international understanding and cooperation, but I believe that these conferences could do a lot better. I said then, and I say now, that much more could be achieved if the effort and time were spent on areas of common concern and basic understanding and agreement, on which real progress could be made. Twelve months ago I suggested the greenhouse effect as one such issue. I have suggested it as a topic for submission and consideration subsequently. On matters like that, all countries are in complete agreement, and real progress could be made if they were discussed. Instead, we get onto matters which only bring hostility and disagreement between the parties. The IPU can be a much more useful organisation, and I urge that our delegates work towards those ends.