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Notice given 11 March 2002

178  Senator Ray: To ask the Minister for Finance and Administration—Has there been any occasion on which the department awarded contracts to J P Morgan between 11 March 1996 and 11 March 2002; if so: (a) what was the purpose of each contract; and (b) what was the total cost of each contract.

179  Senator Ray: To ask the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) On how many occasions did the department pay the subscription of the former Minister, Dr. Wooldridge, to the Australian Medical Association.

(2) What was the total cost of those payments.

(3) Did the department pay any other professional subscriptions on behalf of the former Minister; if so: (a) what were the organisations concerned; and (b) what was the cost of each of the subscriptions.

180  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—With reference to an article published in the Australian of 4 March 2002 that referred to a plan to give the Australian Federal Police investigative powers similar to those of the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation in crimes that affect the national interests of Australia:

(1) Where were these recommendations made.

(2) Who made these recommendations.

(3) Were the recommendations the result of a report written by Mr Mick Palmer, former Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police.

(4) When will this report be made available to the public.

(5) Will this issue be raised during a meeting of state ministers in April 2002.

(6) If state government leaders disagree with this plan, is the Commonwealth willing to override their views in order to implement such a plan.

(7) By what criteria will the Federal Government deem which crimes are appropriate for this style of police enforcement and investigation.

181  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—

(1) Is the Treasury undertaking a review of the Trade Practices Act 1974 ; if not, why not.

(2) If there is a review being undertaken: (a) has a committee been formed; (b) have submissions been called for; (c) is a discussion paper available to the public; (d) who is on the committee; (e) what are the terms of reference for the review; (f) what is the timetable for the review; and (g) has the review been suspended; if so, at what stage and by whom.

(3) Is the Minister aware of any other reviews of the Act.

182  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—With reference to the consultation on a quality framework for primary dispute resolution under the Family Law Act 1975 :

(1) Can copies of public submissions be made available to the Senate; if not, why not.

(2) Has any committee, or other body, been charged with the responsibility of examining the submissions; if not, why not.

(3) Have any recommendations or conclusions been drafted; if not, why not; if so, can they be made available to the Senate.

183  Senator Harris: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to documents relating to heavy truck specifications tabled pursuant to orders of the Senate:

(1) In the middle of 1999 was a data disc deliberately corrupted by Mr Scott McFarlane of Roaduser International before being sent to the owner of F1, so that it would be unusable and thus prevent others from analysing the data, and that an uncorrupted disc was not sent until 2 to 3 months later.

(2) Were the air fare and related accommodation costs for the Melbourne to Brisbane return trip on 13 May 1999 that were listed in the external supplier expense document (K99-917, 024-026) relating to the Roaduser Report used solely for that purpose and not used to subsidise the costs of Roaduser personnel attending other functions at the Brisbane Truck Show, unrelated to the report.

(3) Was the second testing of F4, a Mack CH Fleetliner prime mover, undertaken at the request of the manufacturer; if so, was the expense of this additional test costed to the report or to the manufacturer.

(4) (a) Did the manufacturer of the Australian-designed and tested Hendrickson WD2 460 suspension that was fitted to the worst performing vehicle, F6, withdraw that suspension from the market early in 2001 after claiming there was nothing wrong with it; and (b) is it a fact that the manufacturer has no substitute available until a new suspension is introduced in 2002; if so: (i) why was the suspension withdrawn, and (ii) if it was due to its poor performance, why has there not been a recall or other action taken in relation to other vehicles similar in style to F6 fitted with that suspension.

(5) (a) Was Roaduser International’s tender for this investigation $79 400, compared with the losing bidder’s quote of about $120 000; and (b) was the final payment to Roaduser International close to $580 000.

(6) With reference to documents T1112- 121-138 and K99-804—126-132, did Roaduser International tender to undertake publicity and problem definition for $8 000, inspect-and-drive appraisals of 6 vehicles for $14 850 ($2 470 each), instrumented testing of 4 vehicles for $33 050 ($8 250 each), computer simulation and analysis relating to 4 instrumented tests for $21 000, assessment of vehicles against industry standards for $5 000, risk amelioration and problem scoping for $3 000 and a report of the investigation for $5 000.

(7) Did Roaduser charge about $80 000 to appraise 13 vehicles ($6 200 each, or 2.5 times the quoted cost per vehicle) even though it did not undertake analysis of each vehicle using Roaduser’s in-house, computer-based performance assessment and did not undertake a lane-change manoeuvre.

(8) Did Roaduser charge about $340 000 for 8 instrumented tests and drives ($42 500 each, or 5 times the quoted cost per vehicle) even though the number of channels of data quoted to be collected was a minimum of 28 compared with only 3 more collected, and evaluation of the vehicle negotiating a standard bump and a steady turn and under severe braking were not carried out.

(9) In relation to the investigation: (a) was Roaduser allowed to charge, for graduate engineers with about 2-years experience on $40 000 per year (or $30 per chargeable hour), a rate around $150 per hour, or more than twice the rate generally charged by consultants for such engineers; (b) were the charge-out rates for the Chief Engineer and Manager Accident Mitigation $250 per hour, and the rate for Dr Peter Sweatman $350 per hour; and (c) have there been any other consultants in the road transport field for which the Australian Transport Safety Bureau has paid similar charge-out rates; if not, can the Minister advise why these rates were paid for this investigation.

(10) Can the Minister confirm that: (a) while the Federal Office of Road Safety tender suggested the use of subcontracted, experienced and qualified organisations to conduct the vibration related tests of the investigation, Roaduser, which was not an experienced or qualified organisation in this field, undertook this work itself; (b) Roaduser quoted on, and undertook measuring of, driver’s seat vibration in the vertical and fore-aft directions only, even though the relevant international standard (ISO 2631-1) required measurements in the side-to-side direction as well, and rates this vibration as being more important than the vertical direction; (c) in order to undertake this work, the Chief Engineer purchased a text on vibration around August 1999; (d) much of the analysis of ‘vibration’ and other data was undertaken by a PhD student with no specific skills in either heavy vehicles or vibration; and (e) Roaduser charged the same hourly rate for this work even though it was not expert in the field.

(11) Given the above, what action is being taken to recover excess monies paid to Roaduser under this contract.

184  Senator Bourne: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) What appeal and complaint mechanisms exist for cadets and adult instructors of cadets with regard to decisions of state unit commanders and staff officers of the Australian Defence Force Cadets.

(2) Why is there a compulsory retirement age of 60, with a 2-year discretionary extension, for adult instructors of cadets.

(3) What progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of the Topley Report, Cadets in the Future , dated 2000.

185  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—

(1) Given the Prime Minister’s recent statement that, ‘the Commonwealth is very strongly committed to ... bridging the gap between the less fortunate in the world and the more fortunate’, why was climate change and its impact on the Commonwealth’s small island nations such as the Maldives, Tuvalu, Tokelau and Kiribati not on the agenda for the recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) talks.

(2) Is it the case that Australia vetoed any discussion on climate change or compensation for small island states; if so, why.

(3) Is it the case that Fiji’s Foreign Minister requested that the impact of climate change be included at CHOGM talks.

186  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources—

(1) (a) Is the Minister aware that coal consumption in ASEAN countries is forecast to rise by 9.5 per cent per year, especially in Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines and that ASEAN imports are expected to rise by 14 per cent per year to 30 million tonnes by 2010; (b) is the Minister aware that coal imports by Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines increased by 14 per cent from 1990 to 2000; and (c) based on these figures, what strategies is the Australian Government adopting to ensure Australian coal will be purchased in these growing markets.

(2) (a) Is the Minister aware that since mid-2001, the price for thermal coal has been declining, affected in part by the economic recession precipitated by the events of 11 September 2001; (b) is the Minister aware that Australia did not enter into direct price competition with Chinese exporters, which saw Chinese exports rise; (c) is the Minister aware that industry experts expect that Australian coal exporters will become more price-competitive in 2002 in order to ensure sales; and (d) . how will this occur and what role will the Government play.

(3) With reference to the department’s coal trade promotion activities in Asia: (a) what promotional projects and material has the department produced in the past year; (b) what promotional plans does the department have for coal trade promotion in Asia in 2002; and (c) what budget has been allocated.

(4) (a) Does the department spend $1 million annually to promote the use of Australian ‘clean coal’ in the Asia region; and (b) what is this amount spent on.

(5) What work is the department doing to promote Australian renewable energy products and producers in the overseas market.

(6) What meetings has the department organised with the coal industry, in 2001 and 2002, to discuss and plan coal exports to Asia (please list the dates of these meetings together with a list of attendees).

(7) (a) Is the Minister aware that, in 1998-99, lower prices for thermal coal resulted in several mines being closed or placed on care and maintenance; (b) is the Minister aware that as a result, employment in the coal mining industry fell by 3 636 persons (14 per cent) over the year, the largest employment fall in any mining industry; and (c) what strategies does the department have to deal with this fall in employment in the coal industry.

(8) What level of involvement has the department had in securing coal-related projects funded by the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.

(9) (a) Has the department provided the secretariat for Australia’s role as host of the APEC Energy Working Group during the past 10 years; (b) what is the annual budget for hosting this working group; (c) can a break-down of the budget for this program be provided; (d) what activities have been undertaken; (e) what outcomes have been achieved by hosting this group; and (f) does Australia have any intention of passing this role on to another APEC member in the near future; if so, who.

(10) (a) Is the Minister aware that at the 7th Conference of the parties held in Marrakech, November 2001, a board for CDM projects was established which will develop the process for approving CDM projects; (b) does the International Greenhouse Partnerships Office of the department anticipate that project applications will be called for by mid-2002, and that these will be based on a current pilot project; and (c) what are the current CDM/AIJ pilot projects that involve the mining and energy sector.

(11) (a) What level of consultation does the department have with the coal industry with regard to Australia’s stance on ratification of the Kyoto Protocol; and (b) can a list of meetings, written consultations and briefs prepared by the department on this topic be provided.

(12) (a) Is the Minister aware that the coal-fired power plants proposed for Prachuab Khiri Khan, Thailand, will use coal from the PT Adaro mine in Indonesia, owned by Australian company, New Hope; (b) is the Minister aware that the local people and the Bo Nok Subdistrict Administrative Organization have opposed the project through votes, letters of opposition and demonstrations; (c) has the Australian Ambassador to Thailand, Mr William Fisher, written press releases and letters to the editor, and to the Thai Government, supporting the use of ‘clean coal’; and (d) why does Australia continue to promote the use of Australian coal in this project, despite local opposition.

187  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs—

(1) What is the current estimated cost of the cancer incidence and mortality study of British nuclear weapons testing personnel.

(2) Which department will fund the study.

(3) How many department personnel are engaged in the: (a) nominal roll; and (b) study.

(4) Can a list of those personnel be provided.

(5) Will dose reconstruction be done as part of the study.

(6) Will this be contracted out.

(7) Can the full minutes of the meetings of the scientific group and the advisory panel be made available.

(8) (a) What would be the cost of providing all surviving servicemen from Maralinga with service pensions and Gold Cards; and (b) how is this cost calculated.

(9) Does the calculation take into account age and disability pensions.

(10) (a) What percentage of survivors already receive service pensions and Gold Cards; and (b) is this taken into account in the calculations.

(11) Will it be possible for the results of the cancer incidence and mortality study to be used in the courts.

(12) Will it be possible for personnel conducting the research and other aspects of the study to be brought to give evidence in support of the veterans; if not, why not.

(13) Given that the study will presumably not report on individuals, will individuals be provided with individual reports; if so, will individuals be able to make these reports public if they wish.

(14) Will those servicemen who are found in the study to have been exposed to high levels of radiation, but whose health condition was not previously followed up, be followed up after the study.

(15) (a) Is the Minister aware that the Health Physics Report, in 1964 stated, ‘Health Physics information and files held at Maralinga have been transferred to Commonwealth X-ray Laboratories in Melbourne, except the records of results obtained from film badges which by mutual agreement were transferred to AWRE’; and (b) has the department requested that these results be returned to Australia for the study; if not, why not.

(16) (a) Is it the case that a veteran, Mr John Hutton, requested records from AWRE and was provided with one page, SFS/OEL/UMB/1(P), which includes Australian servicemen; (b) did the Government point this out in DISR’s request to the United Kingdom (UK); and (c) does the Minister agree that those lists are not just of UK servicemen.

(17) (a) Is the Minister aware that many documents were provided to the Royal Commission and are now in the National Archives, but are still restricted; and (b) will they be made available to the study group.

(18) Will those documents that are not specific to individual medical records be released and/or used by the study group.

(19) Is there a clear document available for veterans and their widows on the options available for compensation claims; if so, can a copy be provided.

(20) What is the success rate for compensation claims that have been made under the Safety, Rehabilitation and Compensation Act 1988 .

(21) How does the Minister explain this very low success rate.

(22) Is there a protocol or are there guidelines for those at Comcare ruling on the cases.

(23) How does the point system work.

(24) Who are the delegates on the Comcare compensation panel.

(25) What are their qualifications.

(26) Given that John Sainsbury is often considered the ‘last resort’ for veterans, what are his qualification for this role.

(27) Is it the case that veterans are not allowed to discuss their cases amongst themselves or with anyone else; if so, why.

(28) Has any sort of analytical study been done of the material put forward in the compensation claim submissions; if not, why not.

(29) Will those applications be considered in the health study.

(30) Can a copy of the 1950s agreement with the UK on legal fees be provided; if not: (a) why not; and (b) what are the implications in respect to Australia’s legal costs in fighting claims for compensation under the common law.

(31) With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 3625 part (4), Senate Hansard , 22 August 2001, p. 26428: Why was it not possible for a breakdown to be provided of legal fees for each of the court cases.

(32) Did the Australian Government Solicitor (AGS) provide legal services for Comcare and common law cases.

(33) What monies have been paid to the AGS in legal fees for compensation court cases (can details be provided for Comcare and common law cases separately).

(34) (a) What representation has been made by Australia to the UK with regard to legal fees for compensation cases in the past 2 years; and (b) can copies of correspondence be made available.