Treaties Committee supports ratification of Australia-Japan Reciprocal Access Agreement and Global Convention on Recognition

The Joint Standing Committee on Treaties has tabled a report into two major treaties: the Agreement between Australia and Japan concerning the Facilitation of Reciprocal Access and Cooperation between the Australian Defence Force and the Self-Defense Forces of Japan (Australia-Japan RAA), and the Global Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education (Global Convention). The Committee has recommended the Australian Government ratifies both treaties.

Committee Chair, Mr Josh Wilson MP said, “the Australia-Japan RAA builds on the long-standing defence relationship between Australia and Japan, and would both simplify and strengthen defence cooperation between the two countries in the context of a deteriorating strategic environment”.

“The Australia-Japan RAA deals comprehensively with the entry and departure of the Visiting Force and Civilian Component, their movement and operation within the territory of each Party, command and control, and matters of criminal jurisdiction and claims”.

The issue of the death penalty that applies in Japan for certain offences was examined by the Committee. It found that while blanket immunity for Australian personnel serving in Japan was not achieved, considerable steps had been taken to protect personnel from the risk of being subject to the death penalty, while also maintaining Australia’s international obligations. The Committee recognised the importance of Australia’s principled position opposing the death penalty, as set out in Australia’s whole-of-government strategy for the abolition of the death penalty.

Regarding the Global Convention, Mr Wilson said, “the Global Convention establishes universal principles and processes for the recognition of studies and qualifications, and the right of individuals to have their foreign qualifications assessed in a fair, transparent, and non-discriminatory manner”.

“The Global Convention would provide a framework for the recognition of Australian qualifications internationally, and the recognition of overseas qualifications in Australia, and in so doing would potentially have significant benefits for Australia’s education sector”.

The Committee agreed that in a highly competitive international marketplace, the Global Convention would add value to Australian qualifications and help to attract skilled professionals. Importantly, Australian decision makers would retain full autonomy with regard to which overseas qualifications would be recognised and how that would occur.

The Report can be found on the Committee website, along with further information on the inquiry.

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