JSCOTJoint Standing Committee on Treaties (Australia)
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58) Although that treaty did not go before JSCOT prior to its entry into force, it did so afterwards; the national interest exemption to the usual procedure was invoked because of the need for speedy action.
Yet the arrangement with Ukraine does not appear to have been considered by Australia to be of treaty status, as it was not laid before Parliament or referred to JSCOT (as was the Australian-Netherlands agreement), and it was not published in the Australian Treaty Series.
While the status of an agreement which one party appears to treat as a treaty and the other does not is an interesting question, the relevant point in this context is the anomalous situation that arises from the perspective of JSCOT review of analogous agreements.
The fortuitous choice of the status of the instruments--in one case a treaty (in response to the needs of the Netherlands), the other an arrangement involving constructive ambiguity which served the needs of both sides--meant that in one instance JSCOT reviewed the agreement, while in the other it did not.
This is a revised version of a paper prepared for the 20th anniversary seminar of the JSCOT held on 18 March 2016, upon which my presentation at that event was based.
9) For example, the primary focus of the JSCOT is on 'treaties', although it has the power 'to inquire into and report on.
As for the content of the scrutiny, JSCOT has examined mostly new treaty actions, including new amendments to existing treaties, although the broad interpretation it has taken of its mandate has allowed for the examination of one treaty well after ratification (in essence providing an audit of that treaty's domestic implementation), (183) and the examination of another during its negotiation.
JSCOT has usually concluded its review with a positive recommendation to the executive to take binding treaty action.
228) This inclusion also provides an opening for JSCOT to examine the NIA with a view to ensuring that state and territorial consultation has in fact taken place.
JSCOT has itself recognized the state interest in treaty making, convening a meeting with representatives from all states and territories in 1999 to discuss the role for "parliaments" in treaty making, as well as state proposals for according such parliaments a greater role.
172) Notices for meetings appear regularly in The Australian newspaper under the heading "What's Happening at Your House," and JSCOT staff regularly send out email alerts to civil society groups about specific inquiries of interest.
175) JSCOT, "Committee Activities (Inquiries and Reports)", online: JSCOT <http://www.