Northern based Government Senator Ian Macdonald has been elected as Chairman of the prestigious parliamentary committee, the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Defence and Trade. This powerful committee oversights the Foreign Affairs Department, the Department of Defence and the Department of Trade, and has a number of sub-committees which inquire in depth into these portfolio areas.
The committee regularly meets with Ambassadors from other countries, and with Australia’s Ambassadors and High Commissioners representing our country in other nations.
The committee also regularly examines military leaders and investigates proposed military strategies and projects.
The committee also oversights Australia’s Trade negotiations and has parliamentary input into negotiations for free trade and other trade agreements.
The committee comprises 32 members and its deputy Chairman is Mr Nick Camion MP the Labor member for Wakefield.
Senator Macdonald has been a member of the committee for a number of years and said he was delighted to take on the leadership role following the recent Ministerial re-shuffle.
“The committee is directly involved with many issues which are of particular significance to Northern Australia,” Senator Macdonald said.
“The North contains very large defence bases at Lavarack Barracks in Townsville, at HMAS Cairns, and Army and Air Force bases in Darwin, plus a multitude of other Defence activities.
In the Foreign Affairs and Trade areas, North Queensland is particularly important and the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Singapore is just one example in the North where Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade, are involved and all of which are oversighted by the Committee.
Australia’s concentration on aid and assistance to our Pacific neighbours is also an important part of the work of the committee and our relationships and interactions with our nearest neighbours in Papua New Guinea and Indonesia are important targets for committee inquiries.
“I treat my appointment as recognition of the importance that Northern Australia has in the fields of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade,” Senator Macdonald said.