Opinion No. 1593
DRAFT UNITED KINGDOM BILL TO GIVE EFFECT TO Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field art 28: POWER OF AUSTRALIA TO PASS LAW GIVING EFFECT TO ARTICLE IN AUSTRALIA AND TERMINATING APPLICATION OF UK LEGISLATION: EXTENSION TO PAPUA
Geneva Convention for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick in Armies in the Field done at Geneva on 27 July 1929  ATS 6 art 28: Geneva Convention Act 1911 (U.K.) (1 & 2 Geo. V c. 20): Commonwealth Statutory Rules 1901
24 April 1936
The Secretary, Department of External Affairs
I am in receipt of your memorandum of the 16 April 1936 referring for advice a copy of a draft Bill prepared by the Government of the United Kingdom to enable effect to be given to Article 28 of the Geneva Convention for the amelioration of the condition of the wounded and sick in armies in the field.
Advice is particularly desired as to whether sub-clause (1) of clause 2 of the Bill is in a form agreeable to the Commonwealth Government.
This sub-clause reads as follows:
Notwithstanding anything in any enactment or rule of law, the legislature of a country to which this subsection applies shall have power to pass a law to give effect to all the provisions of Article twenty-eight of the said Convention, and any such law may provide that the Geneva Convention Act 1911, shall cease to extend to that country.
The countries to which this subsection applies are the Commonwealth of Australia, the Dominion of New Zealand and British India.
As the Geneva Convention Act 1911 applies to the Commonwealth and the Territory of Papua (vide Commonwealth Statutory Rules 1901–1927, Vol. IV, p. 3602), it is desirable that sub-clause (1) should be wide enough to permit of the termination of the extension of that Act to Papua as well as the Commonwealth. Further, sub-clause (1) purports to authorize the legislature of a country referred to therein to pass a law to give effect to Article 28 of the Convention. It is doubtful whether this would authorise the enactment of legislation for the external Territories of the Commonwealth.
In my opinion, therefore, it would be advisable to alter the first paragraph of the sub-clause to read as follows:
Notwithstanding anything in any enactment or rule of law, the legislature of a country to which this sub-section applies shall have power to make laws to give effect to all the provisions of Article twenty-eight of the said Convention in that country and any Territories (including mandated Territories) under the control of that country, and any such law may provide that the Geneva Convention Act 1911, shall cease to extend to that country and those Territories.
[Vol. 29, p. 157]