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Wednesday, 22 August 1973
Page: 222

Mr CHARLES JONES (Newcastle) (Minister for Transport and Minister for Civil Aviation) - I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation of 1944 provided for the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) which was founded in 1947 and is a specialised agency of the United Nations. Article 56 of the Chicago Convention as originally drafted provides that the Air Navigation Commission, which is the principal and a permanent technical body of ICAO, shall be composed of 12 members appointed by the Council, the governing body of ICAO. The Air Navigation Commission is the principal ICAO body concerned with the planning, co-ordination and examination of all of ICAO's work in the air navigation field, including the establishment of international standards and recommended practices. The uniform application of these standards by governments is necessary and desirable for the operation of safe and efficient air services by international airlines including, of course, Qantas. At its Assembly Session held in Vienna in mid 1971, ICAO adopted a Protocol of Amendment to the Chicago Convention to increase the membership of the Air Navigation Commission from 12 to IS members. The amendment requires ratification by 80 states out of the total membership of 128 before it comes into force.

The primary purpose of this Bill is to obtain parliamentary approval for Australia to ratify this Protocol. The Air Navigation Act 1920-1971 sets out in Schedules the Chicago Convention which was ratified by Australia in 1947 and a number of Protocols amending the Convention in minor respects. That Act was amended in 1961, 1963 and 1971 to approve the ratification of other minor amendments to the Chicago Convention, these amendments being set out in further Schedules to the principal Act. The present Bill continues this practice by inserting the new Protocol as the Eighth Schedule to the principal Act. The increase in membership is supported for 2 main reasons. First, it was the unanimous wish of the member states for an increase of 3 members. Secondly, an increase of three could not be considered unreasonable in the light of the fact that the total membership has grown to 128, that is, more than double the number of states which participated in the Chicago conference which gave rise to the Convention. The Australian Government welcomes the participation of an increased number of states in the work of the Air Navigation Commission which is becoming more complex with the technological advances in air navigation in recent years. I commend the Bill.

Debate (on motion by Mr Bonnett) adjourned.

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