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Tuesday, 13 May 2014
Page: 2458


The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT ( Senator Whish-Wilson ) (17:40): I present documents listed on today's Order of Business at item 13 presented since the Senate last met.

The list read as follows—

Documents Presented Out of Sitting

COMMITTEE REPORTS (pursuant to Senate standing order 38 (7)).

1. Environment and Communications Legislation Committee—Telecommunications Legislation Amendment (Submarine Cable Protection) Bill 2013 [Provisions]—Report, additional information and submissions. [Received 28 March 2014]

2. Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport References Committee—Effect on Australian pineapple growers of importing fresh pineapples from Malaysia—Effect on Australian ginger growers of importing fresh ginger from Fiji—Proposed importation of potatoes from New Zealand—Final report, Hansard record of proceedings, documents presented to the committee, additional information and submissions. [Received 31 March 2014]

3. Abbott Government’s Commission of Audit—Senate Select Committee—Second interim report, dated April 2014. [Received 24 April 2014]

4. Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee—Regulatory Powers (Standard Provisions) Bill 2014 [Provisions]—Report and submissions. [Received 8 May 2014]

5. Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters—Conduct of the 2013 Federal Election: Senate voting practices—Interim report. [Received 9 May 2014]

GOVERNMENT RESPONSES TO PARLIAMENTARY COMMITTEE REPORTS (pursuant to Senate standing order 166)

1. Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee—Report—Report of the DLA Piper Review and the government’s response. [Received 5 May 2014]

GOVERNMENT DOCUMENTS (pursuant to Senate standing order 166)

1. Foreign Investment Review Board—Report for 2012-13. [Received 10 April 2014]

2. Australia and the International Financial Institutions—Reports for 2012-13. [Received 23 April 2014]

3. Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse—Royal Commission—Report of Case Study No. 1—The response of institutions to the conduct of Steven Larkins, dated March 2014. [Received 24 April 2014]

4. National Health Amendment (Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme) Act 2010—Collection of Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and Repatriation Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme under co-payment prescription data—Report for 2012-13. [Received 29 April 2014]

5. Gene Technology Regulator—Quarterly report for the period 1 October to 31 December 2014. [Received 30 April 2014]

6. Renewable Energy (Electricity) Act 2000—Report for 2013 on the operation of the Act. [Received 30 April 2014]

7. Clean Energy Act 2011—Final report—Reducing Australia’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions - Targets and Progress Review, dated February 2014. [Received 9 May 2014]

REPORTS OF THE AUDITOR-GENERAL (pursuant to Senate standing order 166)

1. Report no. 24 of 2013-14—Performance audit—Emergency Defence Assistance to the Civil Community: Department of Defence. [Received 16 April 2014]

2. Report no. 25 of 2013-14—Performance audit—Management of the Building Better Regional Cities program: Department of Social Services; Department of the Environment. [Received 17 April 2014]

3. Report no. 26 of 2013-14—Performance audit—Medicare compliance audits: Department of Human Services. [Received 23 April 2014]

4. Report no. 27 of 2013-14—Performance audit—Integrity of Medicare customer data: Department of Human Services. [Received 24 April 2014]

5. Report no. 28 of 2013-14—Performance audit—Review of child support objections: Department of Human Services; Department of Social Services. [Received 30 April 2014]

6. Report no. 29 of 2013-14—Performance audit—Regulation of Commonwealth radiation and nuclear activities: Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. [Received 7 May 2014]

7. Report no. 30 of 2013-14—Performance audit—Administering the Code of Good Manufacturing Practice for Prescription Medicines: Department of Health. [Received 7 May 2014]

8. Report no. 31 of 2013-14—Performance audit—The Australian Electoral Commission’s storage and transport of completed ballot papers at the September 2013 Federal General Election: Australian Electoral Commission. [Received 8 May 2014]

RETURN TO ORDER (pursuant to Senate standing order 166)

1. Environment—Maules Creek Coal Project—Order for Production of Documents—Letter to the President of the Senate from the Minister for Finance (Senator Cormann) responding to the order of the Senate of 18 March 2014, dated 15 April 2014 and attachments. [Received 15 April 2014]

2. Environment—Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority—Dredging at Abbot Point—Order for Production of Documents—Letter to the President of the Senate from the Minister for Finance (Senator Cormann) responding to the order of the Senate of 18 March 2014, dated 2 May 2014 and attachments. [Received 5 May 2014]

STATEMENTS OF COMPLIANCE WITH SENATE ORDERS (pursuant to Senate standing order 166)

Indexed lists of departmental and agency files (continuing order of the Senate of 30 May 1996, as amended on 3 December 1998):

Australian Taxation Office. [Received 8 April 2014]

Treasury portfolio. [Received 16 April 2014]

The ACTING DEPUTY PRESIDENT: In accordance with the usual practice and with the concurrence of the Senate government responses will be incorporated in Hansard.

The response read as follows—

SENATE FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE REFERENCES COMMITTEE REPORT OF THE DLA PIPER REVIEW AND THE GOVERNMENT'S RESPONSE

GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

Introduction

The Australian Government is committed to supporting reforms to the management of allegations of abuse in Defence and implementation of Defence's cultural change program. The Australian Government acknowledges the contribution of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade References Committee's report on the `DLA Piper Review and the government's response' to providing parliamentary oversight of this work.

On 26 November 2012, the response to the report of the DLA Piper Review into allegations of sexual and other abuse in Defence was announced. The response included a general apology to members of the Australian Defence Force and Defence employees who have suffered abuse in the course of their employment, the establishment of an independent Defence Abuse Response Taskforce to assess individual complaints and identify any wider systemic issues, and access to reparation.

Apologies delivered by the Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley AC, DSC and in the Parliament on 26 November 2012 offered a significant step in the healing process for those affected by past abuse in Defence.

A Defence Abuse Response Reparation Scheme, with payments up to $50,000 for those who plausibly suffered abuse in Defence, was established to provide financial recognition that abuse is unacceptable and wrong and should never have occurred. Professional counselling and referral to other health services will further support victims of abuse on the road to recovery.

The work of the independent Defence Abuse Response Taskforce will include referral of appropriate matters to law enforcement authorities for criminal investigation while others, with the consent of the complainant, may be provided to Defence for investigation into possible administrative or disciplinary action. Complainants may also have the opportunity to participate in a restorative engagement conference, allowing their personal account of abuse to be heard, responded to and acknowledged by Defence.

March 2014 marks the second anniversary since the release of Pathway to Change: Evolving Defence Culture. This important document outlined Defence's strategy for achieving enduring cultural change. It sets out the requirement that Defence personnel demonstrate exemplary behaviour commensurate with the nation's expectations, in and out of uniform, on and off duty, and how the Defence leadership will require these standards are met.

Implementation of Pathway to Change by Defence and the work of the Taskforce are essential to ensuring Defence continues to serve Australia's national interests in a way that is consistent with modern community standards.

The Australian Government recognises concrete measures recently taken by Defence to improve support to victims of sexual abuse and move towards cultural change. This includes the launch of the Sexual Misconduct Prevention and Response Office on 22 July 2013, marking an important shift toward a victim-focused approach for responding to incidences of sexual misconduct and providing education about the prevention of sexual misconduct and assault in Defence.

The Australian Government and the Defence leadership remain absolutely committed to fully implementing the range of cultural reforms essential to managing and preventing occurrences of inappropriate conduct. Together, we will build a culture that gives confidence to the Australian people and creates a workforce genuinely reflective of the community it serves—just, inclusive and fair-minded.

AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT RESPONSE

SENATE FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE REFERENCE COMMITTEE `REPORT OF THE DLA PIPER REVIEW AND THE GOVERNMENT ' S RESPONSE '

Recommendation

Lead

Proposed Response

Recommendation I

Defence

Agree

Paragraphs 7.5 - 7.6, page 68

 

The apologies delivered by the Chief of the Defence Force and the then Minister for Defence are accessible to all Australians

The committee recommends that Defence prominently

 

on the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce's website and on

display, and commemorate, the apology by the Minister

 

Defence's internal and external websites. Defence referred to

of Defence and the Chief of the Defence Force to victims of abuse in Defence.

 

the apologies in its Annual Report.

Recommendation 2

Defence

Agree

Paragraphs 7.7 - 7.21, page 68 - 72

 

 

 

 

Noting that Pathway to Change is Defence's response to the

The committee recommends that Defence formally

 

Reviews initiated in 2011, Defence will consider the systemic

respond to the systemic issues and findings of the DLA

 

issues and findings of the DLA Piper Review in this context.

Piper Review in its public reporting on the progress of the implementation of the Pathway to Change Defence cultural reforms.

 

 

Recommendation 3

Defence

Agree

Defence has affirmed to the Chair of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, the Hon Len Roberts-Smith RFD QC, its commitment to supporting and participating in the Restorative Engagement Program.

The Defence Abuse Response Taskforce and Defence are working collaboratively to establish arrangements for implementing the program, including a framework underpinned by the best practice principles and values of restorative practice and mediation.

Paragraphs 7.7 - 7.21, page 68 - 72

The committee recommends that Defence actively encourage senior officers to participate in the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce's restorative engagement program with victims of abuse.

Recommendation 4

Defence

Agree

Defence, in consultation with the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce, has prepared a 'limited waiver of confidentiality and deed of release and indemnity' so that persons who have previously settled a claim against Defence involving allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse by Defence personnel are not prevented from having their matter dealt with by the Taskforce.

Paragraphs 7.22 - 7.42, page 72 - 78

The committee recommends that Defence provide a waiver of any confidentiality or non-disclosure agreement which could prevent a person from engaging with the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce.

Recommendation 5

Defence (in consultation with the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce)

Agree

Defence and the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce have agreed the value of providing an appropriately depersonalised database. Work is underway to achieve this outcome.

Paragraphs 7.22 - 7.42, page 72 - 78

The committee recommends that, following the conclusion of the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce's operation, the Minister for Defence facilitate the productive use of the Taskforce's depersonalised statistical database of information regarding reported incidents of abuse in Defence.

Recommendation 6

Defence (in consultation

Agree in principle

Paragraphs 7.22 - 7.42, page 72 - 78

with the Defence Abuse

 

The committee recommends that the Australian

Response Taskforce, Department of Veterans'

The Australian Government notes that the Defence Abuse Response Taskforce is independent of Defence and it has

Government commission an independent review to

Affairs and Attorney-

advised that it sees value in some form of review taking place

determine whether any of the functions of the Defence

General's Department)

toward the end of its outcome delivery phase. Such a review

Abuse Response Taskforce's should continue and how to

 

could then be assessed by the Minister for Defence, the

ensure these functions can continue to be performed

 

Attorney-General and the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, to

effectively. This independent review will report its

 

decide if any of the functions of the Taskforce should continue

findings and make recommendations to the Minister for

 

in another form.

Defence, the Attorney-General and the Minister for

 

 

Veterans Affairs.

 

While the Australian Government is supportive of a review taking place, it considers that it is too early, at this time, to

The committee recommends that, at the conclusion of

 

form a clear view on exactly what form the review should take.

this independent review, the Minister for Defence, the

 

The Taskforce is currently approved to operate to the end of

Attorney-General and the Minister for Veterans' Affairs, should assess whether any of the functions of the

 

November 2014 and the terms and scope of any review should be reconsidered at a later stage.

Defence Abuse Response Taskforce should continue in another form.

 

 

Recommendation 7

Defence

Agree

This recommendation was agreed as part of Pathway to Change and is being implemented.

Paragraphs 7.43 - 7.47, page 78 - 80

The committee recommends that Defence implement

recommendation 19 of the Inspector-General of the Australian Defence Force's review - that the

appointment of case officers to support complainants and respondents should be required in all cases.

Recommendation 8

Defence

Agree

The Australian Government notes action by Defence in Pathway to Change that will, through sustained effort to implement practical measures, corrective processes, and structure and support, achieve Defence's cultural intent.

Paragraphs 7.43 - 7.47, page 78 - 80

The committee recommends that Defence assess whether additional support services for victims of non- sexual forms of abuse should be included within the Pathway to Change cultural reforms.

Recommendation 9

Defence (in consultation with the Department of Veterans' Affairs)

Agree

Defence will examine, in conjunction with the Department of Veterans' Affairs, avenues for dialogue.

Paragraphs 7.43 - 7.47, page 78 - 80

The committee recommends that Defence engage in dialogue with associations which represent the interests of victims of abuse in Defence.

Recommendation 10

Defence

Agree in principle

Noting existing mechanisms of reporting and oversight of Pathway to Change by Government and the Parliament, the Australian Government will consider the necessary activity for evaluating Defence's efforts to achieve cultural change and measures of success.

Paragraphs 7.48 - 7.51, page 80 - 81

The committee recommends that, at the completion of the implementation of the Pathway to Change strategy, the Australian Government conduct an independent review of its outcomes and an assessment of the need for further reform in Defence.