Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 27 November 1973
Page: 2131

The PRESIDENT -Is leave granted?

Senator Greenwood - I ask for an opportunity to examine them, although I am sure no opposition will be expressed.

Senator KEEFFE - If that is the way the honourable senator feels about it, I propose to read them into the record.

The PRESIDENT - Order! I think we can get away from that. My rulings on this matter are that there should be a reasonable opportunity for honourable senators to examine matters that are proposed to be incorporated in Hansard. In obedience to the rulings that I have laid down, Senator Greenwood has merely asked for an opportunity to have a look at the paragraphs. I think the Senate would be best served by solving this problem. Senator Keeffe, will you let me have a look at them?

Senator KEEFFE -Mr President,I am prepared to let you have a look at them. I will make them available so that you can examine them now. They are paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the proclamation by the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment. They set out a series of proclamations that were issued at the time.

The PRESIDENT - Continue with your speech.

Senator KEEFFE -They ought to be placed on the permanent record of this Parliament as an indication of the belief of people at that conference who adopted a forward looking view towards the protection of the environment generally. I feel that much of it is relevant to the Bill under discussion.

So that Senator Greenwood will not be under any misapprehensions, I shall read each of the 4 or 5 brief paragraphs of this next quotation. They are recommendations that came from the second environmental conference, at which I had the honour to represent this country in company with a member of the present Opposition. Recommendation 1 32, is that we should:

Ensure close participation of fishery agencies and interests in the preparations for the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea.

This was the important conference to which I referred a moment ago. The recommendation states:

In order to safeguard the marine environment and its resources through the development of effective and workable principles and laws, the information and insight of international and regional fishery bodies, as well as the national fishery agencies are essential.

A further recommendation is that we should:

Ensure international co-operation in the research, control and regulation of the side effects of national activities in resource utilisation where these affect the resources of other nations.

As the law now stands, it is not possible for the Australian Government either to co-operate with our neighbours or to point to laws that we already have. The recommendation goes on to state:

Estuaries, inter-tidal marshes, and other near-shore and inshore environments play a crucial role in the maintenance of several marine fish stocks. Similar problems exist in those freshwater fisheries that occur in shared waters.

Whilst that latter sentence is not relevant to Australia it is to other countries. But it is because those countries have a law of the sea that they are able properly to administer control under such legislation. The recommendation continues:

Discharge of toxic chemicals, heavy metals, and other wastes may effect even high seas resources.

Certain exotic species, notably the carp, lamprey, alewife, have invaded international waters with deleterious effects as a result of unregulated unilateral action.

This is another area. Apart from the emphasis placed on minerals and other matters by my colleague, Senator Cant, when he spoke in this debate, there are so many other areas which cannot be controlled or properly administered unless there is a relevant law. The recommendation continues:

Further develop and strengthen facilities for collecting, analysing and disseminating data on living aquatic resources and the environment in which they live.

Data already exist concerning the total harvest from the oceans and of certain regions in respect of individual fish stocks, their quantity, the fishing efforts expended on them, and of their population structure, distribution and changes. This coverage needs to be improved and extended.

Whilst it is true to a limited degree in this country, in my own State of Queensland- and I feel I cannot be contradicted here- there has never been a comprehensive survey of the resources of the sea around the coast. There has been a limited survey made around the Gulf of Carpentaria. The recommendation continues:

It is clear that a much greater range of biological parameters must be monitored and analysed in order to provide an adequate basis for evaluating the interaction of stocks and managing the combined resources of many stocks. There is no institutional constraint on this expansion but a substantial increase in funding is needed by FAO and other international organisations concerned to meet the needs of this expanding need for data.

Full utilisation of present and expanded data facilities is dependent on co-operation of governments in developing local and regional data networks, making existing data available to FAO and to the international bodies and formalising the links between national and international agencies responsible for monitoring and evaluating fishery resources.

Apart from one more quotation I propose to wind up my remarks. Recommendation 135 requires that we-

Ensure full co-operation among governments by strengthening the existing international and regional machinery for development and management of fisheries and their related environmental aspects, and in those regions where these do not exist, encourage the establishing of fishery councils and commissions as appropriated.

The operational efficiency of these bodies will largely depend on the ability of the participating countries to carry out their share of the activities and programs.

Technical support and servicing from the specialised agencies, in particular from FAO, is also required.

The assistance of bilateral and international funding agencies will be needed to ensure the full participation of the developing countries in these activities.

I submit that the argument in favour of this legislation is such that it would be damaging to this country if it were not allowed to pass through this House. We will be in an embarrassing situation in 1974 if the delegates representing Australia have to go to the International Conference and say: 'I am terribly sorry but after 74 years of Federation we have not been able to get such legislation through our 2 Houses of Parliament'. We ought to be in the happy situation where we can give a lead to that limited number of countries which do not currently have this law. We can reach agreement with Indonesia. We have been able to make satisfactory progress with other countries surrounding Australia in other areas. Why can we not do so with respect to the law of the sea? I commend to honourable senators many of the statements made when the Senate Select Committee was investigating the off-shore petroleum resources of Australia. As one of my colleagues mentioned earlier, the mass of data that has been accumulated in this report ought to be a guide to governments in this country for many years to come. I know that it is a substantial guide to the Government of which I am happy to be a member and that the minority report which we felt impelled to compile at the time is, today, largely legislation. I suggest in all sincerity that if this country is to hold up its head among the nations of the world we ought to pass this legislation without any amendment.

The PRESIDENT - Senator Keeffe,I am now back to this matter which you raised earlier about leave to incorporate a document in Hansard. I have explained the problem of incorporating material. It takes only one voice to refuse leave. The senator who has been refused leave has the right to dictate into the record what he seeks leave to incorporate. I suggest that in the comity of Senate life perhaps you would be agreeable to let Senator Greenwood have a look at the document before he says yes or no. Nobody loses any skin off his nose on that basis.

Senator KEEFFE - Over a period we have established principles here when we seek leave to have a written document incorporated. Mr President, I think if my memory is consistent with your thinking you asked to look at the document to see whether it could be incorporated. No honourable senator on my side of the chamber has ever demanded that a document be passed over for personal inspection before it is incorporated. I do not think that ought to apply on this occasion.

The PRESIDENT - My inspection of the document relates only to matters which lie within the province of the Presiding Officer and that is whether it is technically possible to reproduce the document in Hansard or whether it contains matter which, in the opinion of the President, should not be incorporated in Hansard for a variety of reasons which, Senator Keeffe, you will probably recall. On the surface it seems to me that this is a reasonable document. But if the honourable senator who is leading for the Opposition in this debate wishes to look at the document before he gives leave, I think that is a reasonable request. Perhaps you should permit him to see it.

Senator O'Byrne - I raise a point of order. I believe that a very important principle is involved in this matter. When an honourable senator asks leave to incorporate a document in Hansard he has under consideration the time element. The fact is that the record will be available for honourable senators to read subsequently and, for that purpose, he seeks leave. But when an honourable senator is on his feet he should really know where he stands- whether he should read the details of the document into the record, which he is quite entitled to do within his time limit or whether he should obtain leave of the Senate to incorporate it. We are creating a precedent here where an honourable senator agrees to have a document perused by you and then he runs the risk that leave may not be given and his time for speaking has finished. He has to get leave of the Senate afterwards when the document is not permitted to be incorporated because he loses his opportunity of reading it out, having completed his speech. I would like this matter to be made quite clear and I would like your ruling on it.

Suggest corrections