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Thursday, 28 September 1972
Page: 1300

Senator MULVIHILL (NEW SOUTH WALES) - I address a question to the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs. When does the Government intend introducing complementary legislation that will enable Australia to become a signatory to the convention on the conservation of Antarctic seals? What other countries are involved in the convention? Will Australia provide staff to monitor the Antarctic seal population?

Senator WRIGHT (TASMANIA) (Minister for Works) - I wish to inform the Senate that approval of the GovernorGeneral in Council has been given to the signing of the convention, that full powers have been sent to London and that the convention will be signed in the next few days. Before proceeding to ratification legislation will be necessary and consideration is being given to the requirements of that legislation at the present time. With regard to membership, South Africa is the only country to have signed and ratified the convention. It has been signed, subject to ratification, by the Argentine, Belgium, New Zealand, Norway, the United States of America, the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and the United Kingdom. With regard to the protection of seals in which the honourable senator is interested, the monitoring of the seal population is not required by the convention, but the parties are required to inform the Secretary of the Commission for Antarctic Research of the number and type of seals killed by nationals of the parties signatory to the convention.

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