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Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee
30/05/2012
Estimates
FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PORTFOLIO

FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PORTFOLIO

In Attendance

Senator Bob Carr, Minister for Foreign Affairs

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Mr Dennis Richardson, Departmental Secretary

Mr Chris Moraitis, First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Management Division

Ms Ann Thorpe, Chief Finance Officer

Ms Robyn Stern, Acting Assistant Secretary, Executive Planning and Evaluation Branch

Outcome 1— The advancement of Australia's international strategic, security and economic interests including through bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement on Australian Government foreign and trade policy priorities

Program 1.1 Foreign Affairs and Trade Operations

North Asia:

Mr Peter Rowe, First Assistant Secretary, North Asia Division

South-East Asia:

Mr Rod Smith, First Assistant Secretary, South-East Asia Division

Americas:

Mr Justin Brown, First Assistant Secretary, Americas and Africa Division

Africa:

Mr Justin Brown, First Assistant Secretary, Americas and Africa Division

Europe:

Mr Paul Myler, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Europe Division

Mr Peter Doyle, Assistant Secretary, EU and Western Europe Branch

South and West Asia, Middle East:

Mr Paul Robilliard, First Assistant Secretary, South and West Asia and Middle East Division

Pacific:

Ms Jennifer Rawson, First Assistant Secretary, Pacific Division

International organisations and legal issues:

Ms Deborah Stokes, First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations Branch

Ms Caroline Millar, Head, United Nations Security Council Task Force

Mr Richard Rowe, Senior Legal Adviser

Dr Greg French, Assistant Secretary, International Legal Branch

Ms Amanda Gorely, Assistant Secretary, Domestic Legal Branch

National security, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation:

Dr Robert Floyd, Director-General, Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Mr Allan McKinnon, First Assistant Secretary, International Security Division

Services to other agencies:

Mr Chris Moraitis, First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Management Division

Mr Peter Davin, Executive Director, Overseas Property Office and Services

Services to diplomatic/consular representatives:

Ms Paula Ganly, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Consular, Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division

Mr David Binns, Assistant Secretary, Consular Operations Branch

Ms Sally Mansfield, Chief of Protocol

Mr Mark Donovan, Protection Privileges and Immunities Section -

Program 1.2 Payments to International Organisations

Ms Deborah Stokes, First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations Branch

Program 1.3 Public Information Services and Public Diplomacy

Ms Paula Ganly, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Consular, Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division

Ms Ruth Pearce, Assistant Secretary, Public Diplomacy and Information Branch

Mr Simon Merrifield, Assistant Secretary, Parliamentary and Media Branch

Mr Guy O’Brien, Director, Domestic Legal Branch

Outcome 2—The protection and welfare of Australian abroad and access to secure international travel documentation through timely and responsive travel advice and consular and passport services in Australia and overseas

Program 2.1 Consular Services;

Ms Paula Ganly, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Consular, Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division

Mr David Binns, Assistant Secretary, Consular Operations Branch

Program 2.2 Passport Services

Ms Penny Williams, Executive Director

Mr Ross Tysoe, Assistant Secretary, Passports Branch

Outcome 3—A secure Australian government presence overseas through the provision of security services and information and communications technology infrastructure, and the management of the Commonwealth's overseas owned estate

Program 3.1 Foreign Affairs and Trade Operations

Mr Tuan Dao, Chief Information Officer

Program 3.2 Overseas Property

Mr Peter Davin, Executive Director, Overseas Property Office and Services

Australian Agency for International Development

Mr Peter Baxter, Director General

Outcome 1—To assist developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, in line with Australia's national interest

Program 1.1 Official development assistance—PNG and Pacific

Program 1.2 Official development assistance—East Asia

Program 1.3 Official development assistance—Africa, South and Central Asia, Middle East and other

Program 1.4 Official development assistance—Emergency, humanitarian and refugee program

Program 1.5 Official development assistance—Multilateral replenishments

Program 1.6 Official development assistance—UN, Commonwealth and other international organisations

Program 1.7 Official development assistance—NGO, volunteer and community programs

Mr James Batley, Deputy Director General

Mr Ewen McDonald, Deputy Director General

Mr Gary Dunn, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Robert Tranter, First Assistant Director General, Pacific Division

Mr Roderick Brazier, First Assistant Director General, East Asia Division

Ms Margaret McKinnon, First Assistant Director General, Africa and Community Programs Division

Mr Scott Dawson, First Assistant Director General, South and West Asia Division

Ms Catherine Walker, First Assistant Director General, Humanitarian and Stabilisation Division

Ms Clare Walsh, First Assistant Director General, International Programs and Partnerships Division

Mr James Gilling, First Assistant Director General, Policy and Sector Division

Mr Laurie Dunn, First Assistant Director General, Program Effectiveness and Performance Division

Mr Blair Exell, First Assistant Director General, Corporate Enabling Division

Mr Murray Proctor, First Assistant Director General, Projects, HIV AIDS Ambassador

Mr Paul Wood, Chief Financial Officer

Mr Michael Carnahan, Chief Economist

Mr Simon Kidman, Chief Auditor

Ms Caitlin Wilson, Assistant Director General, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Branch

Ms Lisa Rauter, Assistant Director General, Africa Branch

Mr Sam Beever, Acting Assistant Director General, Middle East, North Africa, Latin America & Caribbean Branch

Ms Michaela Browning Assistant Director General, Afghanistan and Pakistan Branch

Mr Dereck Rooken-Smith, Assistant Director General, Office of Development Effectiveness

Mr Peter Versegi, Assistant Director General, Budget Branch

Ms Victoria Bergmann, Assistant Director General, Risk Management and Fraud Group

Mr Jean-Bernard Carrasco, Assistant Director General, Climate Change and the Environment Branch

Outcome 2—Australia's national interest advanced by implementing a partnership between Australia and Indonesia for reconstruction and development

Program 2.1 East Asia

Mr James Batley, Deputy Director General

Mr Roderick Brazier, Acting First Assistant Director General, East Asia Division

Committee met at 09:01

CHAIR ( Senator McEwen ): I declare open this meeting of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee. I welcome Senator the Hon. Bob Carr to his very first estimates in the Senate, as Minister for Foreign Affairs, and the Secretary and officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The Senate has referred to the committee the particulars of proposed budget expenditure for 2012-13 and related documents for the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolio. The committee must report to the Senate on 26 June 2012. The committee has set Friday, 27 July 2012 as the date by which answers to questions on notice are to be returned. Senators should provide their written questions on notice to the secretariat by close of business on Tuesday, 12 June 2012.

Under standing order 26, the committee must take all evidence in public session. This includes answers to questions on notice. Officers and senators are familiar with the rules of the Senate governing estimates hearings. If you need assistance in that regard the secretariat has copies of the rules. I particularly draw the attention of witnesses to an order of the Senate of 13 May 2009 specifying the process by which a claim of public interest immunity should be raised, which I now incorporate in Hansard.

The extract read as follows—

Public interest immunity claims

That the Senate—

(a) notes that ministers and officers have continued to refuse to provide information to Senate committees without properly raising claims of public interest immunity as required by past resolutions of the Senate;

(b) reaffirms the principles of past resolutions of the Senate by this order, to provide ministers and officers with guidance as to the proper process for raising public interest immunity claims and to consolidate those past resolutions of the Senate;

(c) orders that the following operate as an order of continuing effect:

(1) If:

(a) a Senate committee, or a senator in the course of proceedings of a committee, requests information or a document from a Commonwealth department or agency; and

(b) an officer of the department or agency to whom the request is directed believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the officer shall state to the committee the ground on which the officer believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, and specify the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(2) If, after receiving the officer’s statement under paragraph (1), the committee or the senator requests the officer to refer the question of the disclosure of the information or document to a responsible minister, the officer shall refer that question to the minister.

(3) If a minister, on a reference by an officer under paragraph (2), concludes that it would not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the minister shall provide to the committee a statement of the ground for that conclusion, specifying the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(4) A minister, in a statement under paragraph (3), shall indicate whether the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee could result only from the publication of the information or document by the committee, or could result, equally or in part, from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee as in camera evidence.

(5) If, after considering a statement by a minister provided under paragraph (3), the committee concludes that the statement does not sufficiently justify the withholding of the information or document from the committee, the committee shall report the matter to the Senate.

(6) A decision by a committee not to report a matter to the Senate under paragraph (5) does not prevent a senator from raising the matter in the Senate in accordance with other procedures of the Senate.

(7) A statement that information or a document is not published, or is confidential, or consists of advice to, or internal deliberations of, government, in the absence of specification of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document, is not a statement that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) or (4).

(8) If a minister concludes that a statement under paragraph (3) should more appropriately be made by the head of an agency, by reason of the independence of that agency from ministerial direction or control, the minister shall inform the committee of that conclusion and the reason for that conclusion, and shall refer the matter to the head of the agency, who shall then be required to provide a statement in accordance with paragraph (3).

(Extract, Senate Standing Orders, pp 124-125)

Today the committee will examine the budget estimates for the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade non-trade programs. The trade program will be heard tomorrow evening.