House debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020

Bills

Australia's Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020; Second Reading

10:32 am

Photo of Christian PorterChristian Porter (Pearce, Liberal Party, Attorney-General) Share this | Hansard source

I move:

That this bill be now read a second time.

Today I am introducing the Australia's Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) (Consequential Amendments) Bill 2020, (the Consequential Amendments Bill).

The bill gives effect to Australia's Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Bill 2020 (the Foreign Relations Bill), which enables the Minister for Foreign Affairs to assess whether arrangements between state and territory governments and foreign governments, and entities related to them, would adversely affect Australia's foreign relations or would be inconsistent with Australia's foreign policy.

The consequential amendments bill amends the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act 1975 to ensure information under that scheme can be shared for the purposes of the foreign relations bill.

This amendment is important, because there may be occasions of intersection or overlap between arrangements subject to the regulatory frameworks in both the foreign relations bill and the Foreign Acquisitions and Takeovers Act.

Effective and efficient information sharing between the ministers and the Commonwealth entities administering these two schemes will support a coordinated approach to managing arrangements between the states and territories and foreign governments.

The consequential amendments bill also amends the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977 to list the foreign relations bill as a law to which the act does not apply. This means that the foreign relations bill will not be subject to review under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act.

This is a necessary amendment, because decisions made under the foreign relations bill will involve complex foreign policy considerations within the exclusive remit of the Commonwealth government and the Minister for Foreign Affairs to determine and manage.

It is not appropriate for these decisions to be open to judicial review under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act.

Decisions made under the foreign relations bill will be assessed on the basis of Australia's foreign relations and foreign policy, and as such, the opportunity for such decisions to be subject to judicial review should be reduced to preserve the Commonwealth government's prerogative—exercised through the Minister for Foreign Affairs—to determine Australia's foreign relations posture and foreign policy.

Individuals affected by a decision under the foreign relations bill may still seek judicial review by the Federal Court and the Federal Circuit Court or by the High Court.

This will ensure that affected individuals have an avenue to challenge decisions that affect them.

The consequential amendments bill makes important amendments to support the operation of the Foreign Relations Foreign Relations Bill. I commend the bill to the House.

Debate adjourned.

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