Tuesday, 2 December 2014
Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee; Reference
I move the motion as amended:
I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move that the following matter be referred to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee for inquiry and report by 18 June 2015:
The Commonwealth's treaty-making process, particularly in light of the growing number of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements Australian governments have entered into or are currently negotiating, including:
a) the role of the Parliament and the Executive in negotiating, approving and reviewing treaties;
b) the role of parliamentary committees in reviewing and reporting on proposed treaty action and implementation;
c) the role of other consultative bodies including the Commonwealth–State–Territory Standing Committee on Treaties and the Treaties Council;
d) development of the National Interest Analysis and related materials currently presented to Parliament;
e) development of the National Interest analysis and related materials not currently presented to parliament- such as the inclusion of environmental impact statements;
f) the scope for independent assessment and analysis of treaties before ratification;
g) the scope for government, stakeholder and independent review of treaties after implementation;
h) the current processes for public and stakeholder consultation and opportunities for greater openness, transparency and accountability in negotiating treaties;
i) a comparison of the consultation procedures and benchmarks included by our trading partners in their trade agreements.
j) exploration of what an agreement which incorporates fair trade principles would look like –such as the role of environmental and labour standard chapters
k) and related matters.
When this motion was put but withdrawn yesterday, I outlined the reasons why the government was not minded to support it, principal among which is that the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties is established for a particular purpose and we think that that committee should be allowed to do its jobs. I indicate that the government opposes the motion but we will not be calling for a division.
Question agreed to.