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Notice given 14 March 2003

1265  Senator Bishop: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs—

(1) With reference to the answer to question no. 6 taken on notice during the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee’s supplementary estimates hearings on 21 November 2002, was the ‘direction from the Government’ to introduce a new process to prevent the concealment of claims by Australian Defence Force (ADF) members under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act 1986 from the Department of Defence, made by the Minister for Defence, the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, or the Prime Minister.

(2) Does the answer contradict that given by the department on 21 November 2002 that the Privacy Act 1988 prevented the department giving information on claims from serving members of the ADF to the Department of Defence.

(3) Does the answer also contradict the answer given to part (1) of question on notice no. 1011 (Senate Hansard , 4 February 2003, p. 8486).

(4) Was legal advice sought to clarify the matter; if so: (a) from whom; and (b) can a copy of this advice be provided.

(5) Was advice sought from the Privacy Commissioner; if so: (a) was the advice in writing; and (b) can a copy of this advice be provided.

(6) Has agreement been reached with the Department of Defence on a new process for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs to provide Defence with details of claims made or accepted under the Veterans’ Entitlements Act by serving personnel; if not, has a date been set to achieve this; if a date has not been set, why not.

(7) Has the Department of Defence sought information on such claims since 5 January 2003; if so, has a response containing the details been provided.

(8) Are liabilities for compensation granted to serving ADF members included in the total compensation liability incurred under the Act for the Department of Defence in relation to the ADF; if so, what is the estimated current liability for: (a) all veterans; (b) all ex-service personnel with defence service only; and (c) all current serving ADF personnel receiving payments for: (i) defence service injuries, and (ii) operational service injuries.

(9) What is the total estimated current liability for compensation payments for service-related injury and illness accepted under the Military Compensation Scheme, including its predecessor schemes.