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Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Page: 6818

Foreign Affairs and Trade: Officials for Emergencies

(Question No. 337)


Ms Julie Bishop asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in writing, on 24 March 2011:

How many departmental officials were reassigned to other duties to assist with managing the emergency in (a) Egypt, (b) Libya, (c) Christchurch, and (d) Japan, and what is the usual position of each of these officials.


Mr Rudd: The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

(a) A total of 298 officers were reassigned duties at various times during the period of the crisis to assist with the department’s response to the events in Egypt. Officers in Canberra who assisted with managing the emergency response to the events in Egypt were re-assigned from geographic, multilateral, trade and corporate divisions in the department. Officers who undertook short-term missions to Egypt deployed from Canberra or from posts in the Middle East, Africa or Europe.

(b) and (c) The emergencies in New Zealand and Libya occurred at approximately the same time. A total of 323 officers were reassigned duties at various times during the period of the crises to assist with managing these emergencies. Officers in Canberra who assisted with managing the emergency responses to the events in Libya and New Zealand were re-assigned from geographic, multilateral, trade and corporate divisions in the department. Officers who undertook short-term missions to New Zealand deployed from Canberra, and the officers who deployed to Libya deployed from regional posts in the Middle East.

(d) A total of 410 departmental officers were reassigned duties at various times during the period of the crisis to assist with the department’s response to the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Officers in Canberra who assisted with managing the emergency response to the events in Japan were re-assigned from geographic, multilateral, trade and corporate divisions in the department. Officers who undertook short-term missions to Japan deployed from Canberra or from posts in the Asia-Pacific region.