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House of Representatives

Timor Gap Treaty (Transitional Arrangements) Bill 2000

Explanatory Memorandum

(Circulated by authority of the Minister for Industry, Science and Resources, Senator the Honourable Nick Minchin)

General outline

The purpose of the Bill is to amend the Petroleum (Australia-Indonesia Zone of Cooperation) Act 1990 and a number of other Acts to reflect the fact that, on 26 October 1999 (Australian time), the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor (UNTAET) replaced Indonesia as Australias partner in the Timor Gap Treaty. From that date, Indonesia ceased to have sovereign rights in the area covered by the Timor Gap Treaty.

In many instances, the amendments do no more than reword the Act in question by using expressions such as Timor Gap, East Timor and UNTAET in sections where Indonesia or the Republic of Indonesia currently appear or else by identifying the Republic of Indonesia as the former, rather than the current, Treaty partner. As the changes are retrospective to 1.23 am Australian Central Standard Time on 26th October 1999 (the transition time), there is also a validation provision for things done since that date but with provisions to protect against retrospective criminal liability and preserve immunity from prosecution.

Additionally, a significant new text is inserted in the Petroleum (Australia-Indonesia Zone of Cooperation) Act as the new Schedule 2, viz the Notes exchanged between Australia and UNTAET on 10 February 2000.

The amendments to the Crimes at Sea Act 2000 (not yet in force) are substantially the same as the amendments being made to the Crimes at Sea Act 1979 . However,the Crimes at Sea Act 2000 will not operate retrospectively. Instead, when the Crimes at Sea Act 2000 comes into force, it will incorporate the amendments detailed below in items 18 to 25 and replace all of the Crimes at Sea Act 1979 , including the provisions dealing with the enforcement of criminal laws in Area A of the Zone of Cooperation.

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