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Business of the Senate


Notice of motion

Notice given 11 September 2019

      *1  Senator Patrick : To move—

(1)         That the Senate notes that—

(a)         Australia ratified the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS) and the Statute of the International Court of Justice 1945 (ICJ), accepting the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ and the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea (ITLOS);

(b)         subsequently, on 22 March 2002, Australia made declarations under articles 287(1) and 298(1) of UNCLOS, and article 26 of the Statute of the ICJ, actions which:

                                                            (i)       limited Australia’s acceptance of the compulsory jurisdiction of the ICJ and the ITLOS in maritime boundaries disputes, and

                                                           (ii)       prevented Timor-Leste from exercising its rights under international law;

(c)         the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT), responsible for scrutinising all treaty actions by Australia, was not given the opportunity to scrutinise the declarations before their making;

(d)         JSCOT reported on 26 August 2002 that non-government committee members ‘believe the ICJ declaration ... damages Australia’s international reputation and may not be in Australia’s long-term national interests’ as it ‘may be interpreted as an effort to intimidate and limit the options of neighbouring countries in relation to any future maritime border disputes’; and

(e)         Australia has since signed a maritime boundaries treaty with the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste.

(2)         That the following matter be referred to Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 28 November 2019:

(a)         Australia’s declarations made under articles 287(1) and 298(1) of UNCLOS and article 26 of the Statute of the ICJ, including the question of whether those declarations should be revoked and new declarations made which submit maritime delimitation disputes to the jurisdiction of the ICJ or ITLOS; and

(b)         any related matter.