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Australian Treaties Library Help

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About the Australian Treaties Library

In May 1996 the Government announced reforms to facilitate the involvement of Parliament, the States and Territories, industry, non-government organisations, and the wider community in the making and implementation of Australian treaties.

The reforms allow more opportunity for Parliamentary scrutiny before final action to undertake international legal obligations; provide National Interest Analyses with all treaty actions being tabled for Parliamentary consideration; establish a Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in the Commonwealth Parliament; establish a Commonwealth-State Treaties Council as an adjunct to the Council of Australian Governments; and make treaties more generally accessible, through construction of an Internet database - this Treaties Library.

I. Tabling of Treaties
All treaties (and related actions, including amendments to and withdrawal from treaties) are tabled in Parliament for at least fifteen sitting days in both Houses before the Government takes binding action (with special procedures for instances of exceptional urgency). In most cases, this means that treaties are tabled for consideration after signature but before the final step (eg ratification or confirmatory exchange of notes) to bind Australia under international law.

II. National Interest Analyses
Each treaty is tabled with a National Interest Analysis (NIA). The NIA gives reasons why Australia should become a party to the treaty. Where relevant, the NIA contains a discussion of economic, environmental, social, and cultural effects. Important elements are a description of the consultation undertaken during the treaty-making process, and a certification that arrangements for domestic implementation (e.g. legislation, regulations) are or will be in place before entry into force.

III. Joint Standing Committee on Treaties
The Joint Standing Committee was first formed on 17 June 1996. The Committee considers tabled treaties and NIAs , and other questions relating to international instruments that are referred to it by either House of Parliament or a Minister. The Committee conducts inquiries, including public hearings, and reports to Parliament, normally within the period of fifteen sitting days.

IV. Treaties Council
The Treaties Council, agreed upon by the Council of Australian Governments on 14 June 1996, consists of the Prime Minister and all the State Premiers and Chief Ministers of the Territories, and has an advisory function. It is co-ordinated by the officials-level Commonwealth-State Standing Committee on Treaties. The Council's inaugural meeting was held in November 1997.

V. Australian Treaties Library
The Australian Treaties Library disseminates treaty information to the public in a freely accessible form through the Internet. It is a fully searchable, hypertext-linked resource that includes treaty texts (Australian Treaty Series), indexes, status lists, and explanatory material. It was developed and is maintained by the Australasian Legal Information Institute with funding and material provided by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade.

The following information is available:

Authoritative Texts of Treaties

While we have endeavoured to provide accurate copies of texts of treaties on this site, the only authoritative texts of treaties are the original documents or certified copies thereof. Where such documents are held by the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade in Canberra, texts can be verified for accuracy by the Department. Email:

Using the Australian Treaties Library

The AustLII treaty databases that make up the Treaties Library include hypertext links to most relevant material. These generally include the following:

Each treaty is preceded by a number of "buttons". The meaning of these is as follows:

Reproduction of Treaty Materials

All treaty materials on the AustLII site are published with the permission of the relevant copyright holder. AustLII cannot give you permission to reproduce the materials on the AustLII site. To reproduce these materials beyond what is permitted by the Copyright Act 1968, you should contact the relevant copyright holder to obtain permission. Details to assist you to do this are provided on each database index page.

Additionally, while AustLII is proudly a "free to air" service, nonetheless our detailed markup of legislation is subject to copyright and cannot be copied. The markup is absolutely not in the public domain as far as any sort of reproduction is concerned. Please see AustLII's usage policy for full details.

Copyright permission requests in respect of the AustLII markup and other AustLII-created content should be made through AustLII Feedback.

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