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Tuesday, 4 November 2003
Page: 22040

Mr Martin Ferguson asked the Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, upon notice, on 16 September 2003:

(1) In respect of his Media Release H123/2003 dated 4 September 2003 titled Australian Citizenship Up in the Air, what were the itemised costs to Government of conducting the airborne citizenship ceremony.

(2) Did any other party incur a cost in conducting the airborne citizenship ceremony; if so, (a) what cost was incurred and (b) by whom.

(3) How many people were granted citizenship during the ceremony and in which electoral divisions do they live.

(4) Were relatives of those who were granted citizenship invited to attend the airborne ceremony; if so, (a) how many relatives attended and (b) who paid for their seats on the flight.

(5) How many (a) departmental employees, and (b) members of his staff were in attendance during the ceremony.

(6) Were any Members or Senators invited to attend the ceremony; if so, (a) who was invited and (b) who attended.

(7) What was the process involved in selecting the airline used for this event.

(8) Was the flight a regularly scheduled flight or was it a flight chartered specifically for the purpose of this event.

(9) How was the ceremony conducted.

(10) Were any special onboard safety arrangements put in place in order to conduct the ceremony

(11) Was the Civil Aviation Safety Authority informed of the Government's intention to undertake the airborne citizenship ceremony; if so, did it require any specific safety measures to be observed during the ceremony.

Mr Hardgrave (Minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) Itemised costs are as follows:

Travel expenses for Lisa Curry-Kenny, Chair, National

Australia Day Council and Master of Ceremonies for the event


Travel expenses and appearance fee for singer Jimmy Little


Appearance fee for Indigenous dancers


Video record for promotional and media purposes


Bus & lunches for citizenship conferees and guests


Ancillary event expenses, including for commemorative invitations, media kits, certificates, balloons and flowers


(2) Qantas incurred the cost of the flight. It has advised that it is not prepared to disclose operating expenses.

(3) Twenty two conferees were granted Australian citizenship from the following Federal Government electorates:

Batman (1), Kooyong (2), Burke (1), Higgins (1), Wentworth (1), Lalor (2), Melbourne (5), Indi (3), Deakin (1), Casey (1), Chisholm (3), Melbourne Port (1).

(4) (a) Conferees who did not have friends or family members who were also conferees were invited to bring one guest, and 12 guests attended. (b) Qantas sponsored the flight.

(5) (a) 10. (b) 1.

(6) (a) Senator Tsebin Tchen representing Victoria

Mr Phillip Baressi MP, Member for Deakin

Mr Chris Pearce MP, Member for Aston

Ms Maria Vamvakinou MP, Member for Calwell

The Hon John Pandazopoulos, (Victorian State Parliament), Minister Assisting the Premier on Multicultural Affairs, Member for Dandenong

Mr Murray Thompson MLA (Victorian State Parliament), Member for Sandringham

(b) Senator Tsebin Tchen

Ms Maria Vamvakinou

(7) As an initiative for promoting Australian citizenship, my Department approached Qantas on the basis that they are Australia's largest carrier, have a respected profile and a history of community support.

(8) Qantas sponsored the flight specifically for this event.

(9) The ceremony was conducted in-flight, and followed standard conferral procedures. I was the presiding officer.

(10) Qantas has provided the following advice from the Captain of the flight:

“There was no need to implement any special safety arrangements for the flight in question. Qantas has strict safety arrangements for all flights. I briefed the Customer Service Manager, Michael Vidinis, and we agreed that the flight would proceed according to Standard Operating Procedures protocol with respect to the use of the seatbelt sign and the aircraft's public address system. The official ceremony did not commence until the aircraft levelled off in the cruise at FL260 and the conditions on the day were very smooth. There was a portable public address system used on board for the ceremony and the CSM briefed those conducting the ceremony that the aircraft's p.a. would take precedence at all times. They were further advised that should any event occur that affected the safety of the aircraft and its occupants, the ceremony would be suspended until such time as the event had been appropriately dealt with.”

(11) Qantas has provided the following advice from the Captain of the flight: “For our part (Qantas) there were no special specific safety measures put in place with respect to the flight in question. We followed standard protocols. Qantas has strict safety arrangements for all flights. As this was a charter flight, I discussed the route to be taken with Qantas Flight Dispatch and also with Air Services Australia. I advised both of the route chosen and reiterated that the Flight would be conducted in Controlled Airspace at all times.”