Treaty actions are tabled in Parliament with a National Interest Analysis which explains the impact of the proposed treaty action on the national interest. In order to allow thorough scrutiny most treaties are tabled for 20 parliamentary joint sitting days. By definition, treaties with this 20 day tabling period are Category 1 treaties. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties can be expected to table its reports on Category 1 treaties within that 20 day period.
Category 2 treaties are for the most part uncontroversial in nature and relatively routine in form. Taxation, extradition and air services Agreements are examples of treaties based largely on template provisions. They are tabled for only 15 parliamentary joint sitting days. The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties can be expected to table its reports on Category 2 treaties within that 15 day period.
Treaty actions considered to be ‘minor’ may be tabled in Parliament with an Explanatory Statement.
Departments handling any treaty actions should consult the Treaties Secretariat in the International Legal Branch at DFAT in order to confirm the applicable tabling requirements for that action.
International Law: Advising and Treaties Section
Legal Division, DFAT
DFAT switchboard: +61 2 6261 1111