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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13453

Attorney-General's Department: Department Conferences

(Question No. 1382)


Mr Conroy asked the Minister representing the Attorney-General, in writing, on 17 August 2015

Did the Minister's department host any conferences in 2014-15; if so (a) on what date(s) did each conference occur, and at what location(s), (b) what total sum was spent on each conference, and of this, what sum was spent on (i) meals and accommodation, and what are the details, (ii) travel, and what are the details, and (iii) social events, and what are the details, and (c) what outcomes were achieved at each conference.


Mr Keenan: The Attorney-General has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

2014 National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted the 2014 National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery on 14 July 2014 at Parliament House, Canberra.

(b) The total sum spent on the Roundtable was $8,421.65 (inc GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation—catering $2,920.00 (inc GST)

(ii) Travel—Nil

(iii) Social events—Nil

(c) The 2014 National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery provided an important consultative mechanism between government, NGOs, business and industry, and unions, with a focus on emerging issues relating to human trafficking and slavery in Australia and beyond. Outcomes from the meeting included the announcement of almost $500,000 in funding for projects to prevent and address forced marriage and a new $2 million project to combat the exploitation of female migrant workers in South East Asia. Attendees discussed priorities for the future of Australia's strategy to combat human trafficking and slavery and were consulted on a preliminary draft of the National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery 2015-19.

Security In Government conference

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted the 26th Security in Government (SIG) conference on 1-3 September 2014 at the National Convention Centre in Canberra.

(b) Total expenditure for SIG was $595,454.00 (inc GST). Registration fees and sponsorship fully offset the cost.

(i) Meals and accommodation—3 international and 10 domestic speakers $7,964 (inc GST)

(ii) Travel—3 international and 10 domestic speakers $34,241 (inc GST)

(iii) Social events—Conference Dinner at Parliament House (for 400 attendees) $77,012 (inc GST)

(c) The conference was attended by approximately 449 delegates. It is the marquee security event for the Australian Government. The conference enabled delegates to engage with public and private sector security experts from a diverse range of fields. The attached trade exhibition featured over 80 security-related service providers who work closely with both the government and private sector to provide cutting-edge solutions to protective security issues.

National Child Protection and Family Law Collaboration Meeting

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted a National Child Protection and Family Law Collaboration Meeting on 12 November 2014 at 4 National Circuit, Barton, ACT.

(b) The total sum spent on the meeting was $1,749.28 (inc GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation—lunch costs $788.40 (inc GST)

(ii) Travel—Nil

(iii) Social events—Nil

(c) This meeting involved Department of Social Services, the Family Law Courts, State and Territory legal aid commissions and child protection departments and academics. The key outcome from the meeting was the sharing of initiatives in jurisdictions to improve the interface between the family law and child protection systems.

Commonwealth Fraud Liaison Forum

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted the Commonwealth Fraud Liaison Forum on 20 November 2014 at the Australian Taxation Office, 26 Narellan St, Canberra.

(b) The total sum spent on the Fraud Liaison Forum was $4,491.67 (ex GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation—catering $4,200.00 (ex GST)

(ii) Travel—guest speaker $291.67 (ex GST)

(iii) Social events—Nil

(c) The Forum provided information on key Commonwealth fraud control topics and issues to approximately 200 delegates from over 50 Commonwealth agencies. The topics included the new Commonwealth Fraud Control Framework, the AFP Fraud and Anti-Corruption Centre, Public Interest Disclosure Act, ID security and insider threats. The Forum also facilitated sharing of information and best practice on fraud control activities between fraud control officers from across the Commonwealth.

Attorney-General ' s Department fourth International Law Colloquium

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted its fourth International Law Colloquium on 28 November 2014 at 4 National Circuit, Barton, ACT.

(b) The total sum spent on the colloquium was $5,476.81 (ex GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation - catering $2,319.54 (ex GST)

(ii) Travel—Nil

(iii) Social events - for drinks reception following the Colloquium $540.00 (ex GST)

(c) The Colloquium brought together leading international lawyers from the Australian Government, academia and private practice to discuss emerging and cross-cutting international law issues and forecast trends ahead. It draws on the experience and research expertise of Australia's international law community and strengthens existing relationships by enabling more open and detailed discussions than are generally possible at larger conferences.

2014 National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery Officials Meeting

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted the 2014 National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery Officials Meeting on 2 December 2014 at 4 National Circuit, Barton, ACT.

(b) The total sum spent on the officials meeting was $2,823.00 (inc GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation $756.00 (inc GST)

(ii) Travel—Nil

(iii) Social events—Nil

(c) The Senior Officials' Meeting is held to supplement the ministerial-level National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery. The 2014 Senior Officials' Meeting featured presentations on current issues and Government representatives provided attendees with updates on key policy issues, including the Human Trafficking Visa Framework review and the work of the Communication and Awareness and Supply Chains Working Groups.

Non-Government Organisation (NGO) Human Rights Forum

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted the NGO Human Rights Forum on 10 December 2014 at the Australian Human Rights Commission, Level 3, 175 Pitt Street, Sydney.

(b) The total sum spent on the forum was $5,177.66 (ex GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation - catering, accommodation and meals $2,904.35 (ex GST)

(ii) Travel $1,873.31 (ex GST)

(iii) Social events—Nil

(c) The NGO Human Rights Forum is an annual consultative forum between the Australian Government and peak NGO bodies in the human rights space. The Forum is an opportunity for the Government to engage in discussion with civil society concerning human rights issues. The 2014 Forum focused on Australia's international human rights reporting obligations, including the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and other international conventions such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The 2014 Forum was attended by 27 NGOs representing a wide range of interests. These NGOs engaged constructively in discussion of human rights issues, and had the opportunity to comment on an early stage draft of Australia's UPR report and receive an update on Australia's reporting to a number of UN human rights committees.

Bali Process Regional Symposium on Trafficking for the Purposes of Labour Exploitation

(a) The Attorney-General's Department co-chaired a Bali Process Regional Symposium on Trafficking for the Purposes of Labour Exploitation with Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, from 25-26 March 2015 at the Royal Orchid Sheraton and Towers in Bangkok, Thailand.

(b) The total sum that was spent on the symposium was $85,467.57 (ex GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation for AGD staff, AGD-funded delegates, and speakers $20,768.45 (ex GST)

(ii) Travel—Flights for AGD staff, AGD-funded delegates and speakers, and local transport costs $48,732.91 (ex GST)

(iii) Social events—Official dinner at the Royal Orchid Sheraton & Towers (included in conference package $11,164.44 (ex GST)

(c) The symposium fulfilled an outcome from the 2 April 2013 Bali Process Ministerial Conference. It was the first event hosted by a new Bali Process Working Group on Trafficking in Persons, also established as an outcome from the 2013 Ministerial Conference.

The symposium enabled AGD to promote international standards on and best practice responses to trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling. Presentations included an overview of relevant international standards in responding to trafficking in persons, including UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime, the Protocol on Trafficking in Persons, and the Protocol on Migrant Smuggling, in recognition that smuggled migrants are more vulnerable to being trafficked.

Key issues raised at the symposium informed the Forward Work Plan for 2015-17 of the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons. Participants at the symposium identified key issues in responding to trafficking in persons for further consideration, which were examined at the first meeting of the Working Group on Trafficking in Persons on 27 March 2015. Items that respond to the key issues identified were incorporated into the group's work plan.

Constitutional Law Symposium

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted a Constitutional Law Symposium on 1 May 2015 at 4 National Circuit, Barton, ACT.

(b) The total sum spent on the symposium was $4,140.00 (inc GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation—morning tea and lunch $1,275.00 (inc GST)

(ii) Travel—Nil

(iii) Social events—post conference food and drinks $811.00 (inc GST)

(c) The Symposium brought together leading constitutional lawyers, academics, policy makers and commentators to discuss topical federal and constitutional issues. The Symposium helps the Department to give the best possible advice to the Government in relation to the development of law and policy, particularly on constitutional issues. Topics discussed were:

recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Constitution

the federal balance and the white papers on reform of the federation and Australia's tax system and

counter-terrorism and border security.

Critical Infrastructure Resilience (CIR) Conference

(a) The 5th CIR conference was held at the Pullman Sydney Hyde Park, from 21-22 May 2015.

(b) Total expenditure for the CIR 2015 conference was $43,049 (inc GST). This was fully offset by registration fees.

(i) Meals and accommodation -11 interstate speakers and conference catering $26,237.00 (inc GST)

(ii) Travel—including transfers for 11 interstate speakers $4,962.00 (inc GST)

(iii) Social events—Reception held at the conclusion of conference day one $3,360.00 (inc GST)

(c) This annual event is a key initiative of the Australian Government's CIR Strategy. It brings together stakeholders across private sector, government and academia, to increase understanding and awareness of strategic issues and trends; and their impact on the operating environment of critical infrastructure. The Australian Government's new CIR Strategy was also launched by the Attorney-General at the conference. The conference attracted approximately 100 delegates.

United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Symposium

(a) The Attorney-General's Department co-hosted a UNCITRAL Symposium with UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific and the United Nations Coordination Committee for Australia on 29 May 2015 at 4 National Circuit Barton, ACT.

(b) The total sum spent on the symposium was $1,083.00 (inc GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation—catering for attendees $611.50 (inc GST)

(ii) Travel—Nil

(iii) Social events—Nil

(c) The Symposium showcased the work that the UNCITRAL National Coordination Committee for Australia (UNCCA) has done since 2013 to assist in the development of international commercial law through attendance and contributions at UNCITRAL Working Group meetings. UNCITRAL's six Working Groups aim to formulate modern, fair, and harmonized rules on commercial transactions, specifically in relation to small and micro business, arbitration and conciliation, electronic commerce, insolvency, security interests and online dispute resolution. The event was attended by international guests including Joao Ribeiro from the UNCITRAL Regional Centre for Asia and the Pacific, and esteemed Australian legal practitioners including Chief Justice Allsop of the Federal Court.

Australia ' s Regional Summit to Counter Violent Extremism

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted Australia's Regional Summit to Counter Violent Extremism on 11-12 June 2015 at Pier One and Shangri-La Hotel, Sydney.

(b) The total sum spent on the summit was $540,000.00 (inc GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation—Conference package including all catering; accommodation for some international and domestic delegates $165,350.00 (inc GST)

(ii) Travel $95,600 (inc GST)

(iii) Social events—Official welcome reception at the Sydney Opera House $48,800.00 (inc GST)

( c) The Summit provided regional governments, industry and civil society organisations the opportunity to discuss the spread of terrorist propaganda and to agree concrete actions to respond to this challenge. In addition to the formal Summit program, the Australian Government delivered a number of practical capacity building workshops including to build the capacity of regional government practitioners and civil society organisations to more effectively challenge terrorist propaganda using social media. The five official Summit outcomes are set out in the attached Official Statement.

Annual Australian Government Legal Network (AGLN) Conference

(a) The Attorney-General's Department supported the Second Annual AGLN Conference on 19 June 2015 at Hotel Realm, Canberra.

(b) The total sum spent on the conference was $61,701.26 (inc GST). $59,850.00 (inc GST) was offset by registration fees.

(i) Meals and accommodation—accommodation for speakers $398.00 (inc GST)

(ii) Travel—Flights, petrol and taxi fees for conference speakers $3,781.43 (inc GST)

(iii) Social events—additional catering for networking session $1,786.00 (inc GST)

(c) This is a forum for government lawyers to discuss strategic issues for Commonwealth lawyers. The topic of the conference was 'facing the future together.' The keynote session focussed on the topic 'the future for the delivery of in-house government legal services'. Other topics discussed at the conference included:

mental health in our workplace and the challenge of disclosure

current issues in constitutional law

inquiries and royal commissions and

public interest disclosure.

2015 Financial Action Taskforce Plenary and Working Group meetings

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted the 2015 Financial Action Taskforce (FATF) Plenary and Working Group meetings from 21-26 June 2015 at the Sofitel Central, 249 Turbot Street, Brisbane.

(b) The total sum spent on the plenary and working group meetings was $512,591.94 (ex GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation—catering for six days, accommodation for event staff and translators $210,157.63 (ex GST)

(ii) Travel—travel for event staff, interpreters and two planning visits $8,242.52 (ex GST)

(iii) Social events—Steering Committee Dinner, Heads of Delegation Dinner, Welcome Reception and President's dinner $69,337.37 (ex GST)

(c) The June 2015 Plenary and Working Group meetings were hosted by Australia as the outgoing President of the FATF. The meetings were attended by over 500 international delegates representing the more than 180 member jurisdictions comprising the FATF global network. Five Working Group meetings were held over three days to progress detailed discussion on a wide range of issues, while the Plenary met over three days to debate and decide a long list of agenda items. Notable outcomes included: the issuing of two public documents identifying jurisdictions that may pose a risk to the integrity of the international financial system; the in-depth consideration and adoption of the mutual evaluation report of Malaysia's anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing regime; the issuing of a statement on situations where financial institutions terminate or restrict business relationships with categories of customer (so-called "de-risking"), clarifying the proper application of the FATF Recommendations when establishing correspondent banking relationships; continued work on terrorist financing and the threats posed by ISIL and foreign terrorist fighters; and adopting and publishing papers on combatting the abuse of non-profit organisations, the risk-based approach to virtual currencies, and a typologies paper on the money laundering and terrorism financing risks and vulnerabilities associated with gold.

2015 National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery

(a) The Attorney-General's Department hosted the 2015 National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery on 22 June 2015 at Parliament House, Canberra.

(b) The total sum spent on the Roundtable was $8,666.13 (inc GST).

(i) Meals and accommodation—catering $3,122.50 (inc GST)

(ii) Travel—Nil

(iii) Social events—Nil

(c) The 2015 National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery provided an important consultative mechanism between government, NGOs, business and industry, and unions. Outcomes from the meeting included the announcement of extended access to the Adult Migrant English Program for trafficked people on temporary visas as well as the waiving of the Newly Arrived Residents Waiting Period for trafficked people on permanent visas. Attendees also had the opportunity to provide initial feedback on the draft third edition of the Guidelines for NGOs: Working with trafficked people and discussed key aspects of Australia's strategy to combat human trafficking and slavery, including reforms to the Human Trafficking Visa Framework and mechanisms to address labour exploitation.