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Monday, 1 June 1998
Page: 4386


Mr Campbell asked the Minister representing the Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs, upon notice, on 23 October 1997:

(1) Is he able to say whether Mr G. Clark, Mr M. Mansell and Mr G. Shaw are undertaking an overseas visit; if so, is he also able to say (a) what authority the visit has, (b) who do the persons purport to represent, (c) by whom were they elected or appointed and (d) is taxpayers' money financing the visit; if not, how are expenses being met.


Dr Wooldridge (Health and Family Services) —The Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Affairs has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) I am advised by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission (ATSIC) that Mr G Clark, Mr M Mansell and Mr G Shaw undertook an overseas visit in October 1997. The overseas trip includes attendance at the Commission on Human Rights Working Group No.3 (CHRWG 3) meeting in Geneva and visits to South Africa en route.

(a) Commissioner Clark travelled with the endorsement of the ATSIC Board of Commissioners as is required by the Commissioners' Travel Guidelines for any international travel undertaken by Commissioners. Mr Mansell had authority from the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to attend the CHRWG 3 in Geneva. Mr G Shaw is an employee of the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia, travelled with the authority of that organisation.

(b) Commissioner Clark represented the Commission. Mr Mansell represented the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre in Geneva. ATSIC understands that Mr Shaw represented the Aboriginal Legal Service of Western Australia, and the National Indigenous Working Group on Native Title, of which the ALSWA is a member.

(c) Commissioner Clark replaced Commissioner O'Shane as the ATSIC representative at the CHRWG 3 meeting in Geneva and the ATSIC Board of Commissioners agreed that he could travel in his official capacity as a Commissioner for the entire trip, after he had advised that he would be undertaking the travel as an individual to South Africa

(d) Commissioner Clark travelled to South Africa by private funding but is entitled to seek reimbursement from ATSIC for the costs associated with that travel. Otherwise, his costs were met by ATSIC. An ATSIC grant was made to the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre to send a representative to the CHRWG 3 meeting in Geneva. To the best of the Commission's knowledge, taxpayers funds were not used to finance Mr Shaw's visit and the Legal Service has advised that Mr Shaw was required to take leave for the period.