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Tuesday, 22 August 1972
Page: 263

Senator WEBSTER (Victoria) - I wish to ask the Minister for Works (Senator Wright) 2 questions. Firstly, is there anything in the Consular Privileges and Immunities Bill, which is before the Senate, which is not a part of the Vienna Convention on consular relations? Are the privileges and immunities in that convention identical with those which are being granted under this Bill? Secondly, has the Minister in any way, either in his second reading speech or at any other time, laid down the real privileges which are available to persons under this measure? For instance, I imagine that clause 10 of the Bill is uncommon in that it allows an Australian citizen who is an employee of a consular post of an overseas country to be granted exactly the same immunity from jurisdiction in respect of official acts performed in the exercise of his function. My understanding is that that would allow an individual immunity from excise and customs duties and the various benefits which are available to a consul, lt appears to me that there is some discrepancy here. For instance, we can understand that individuals coming into this country should be allowed to purchase vehicles free of sales tax. Perhaps people enjoying that privilege would find some considerable benefit from selling those vehicles after the few years for which they must hold them. 1 accept, as the Minister has indicated, that every other country places consuls in a similar position. So we have this arrangement built up from the Vienna Convention. I ask the Minister to indicate whether there is anything in this Bill which is peculiar to the Austraiian situation and which is not available overseas. In relation to clause 9 of the Bill I wonder whether the Minister could indicate why in sub-clauses (b), (c) and (d) on page 7 of the Bill the words 'confer on' are on a separate line, whereas when we come to sub-clause (e) on page 8 the words 'confer on' run into the sentence of which they form part and are not set aside to indicate a variety of matters which are conferred.

Senator Wright - Would the honourable senator point up his question to me?

Senator WEBSTER - Clause 9 states: (1.) The regulations may', and sub-clause (a) reads: 'confer on a post established . .'. Sub-clause (b) indicates 'confer on' and then on new lines there are sub-headings (i), (ii) and (iii). Again in sub-clauses (c) and (d) the words confer on' are set aside on a single line. But when we turn over to page 8 of the Bill we find that in sub-clause (e) 'confer on' is not on a line by itself. I wonder whether there is any particular reason ,./ this? It is a peculiar drafting.

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