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Notice given 14 August 2003

1781  Senator Hutchins: To ask the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 1352 (Senate Hansard , 15 May 2003, p. 11332), concerning the number of Australians directly notified of the risk of Hepatitis C exposure from contaminated blood, in which the Minister advised that the department did not have the requested information but had sought this information from the Australian Red Cross Blood Service: What were the figures which the Australian Red Cross provided to the department with regard to the number of Australians who have been notified of the risk to Hepatitis C exposure from contaminated blood.

(2) Can the Minister assure Australians that all those exposed to the deadly virus Hepatitis C from contaminated blood transfusions and blood products are now traced and that they have been directly notified.

(3) Is the Minister aware that the Queensland branch of the Australian Red Cross Blood Service was recently contacted by a blood donor with Hepatitis C.

(4) Given that the individual in paragraph (3) above was infected with Hepatitis C in 1978 and that, in 1995, unaware of their infected status, they made numerous blood donations to the Australian Red Cross: Will the Minister order an immediate investigation into: (a) why this person was not informed by the Red Cross of their infected status; (b) how many hospital patients received their blood; and (c) whether any of these patients were infected as a result.

(5) Are there any reports of Hepatitis C infections as a result of blood transfusion during or after 1995.

(6) (a) Does the Minister agree that Australia is self-sufficient in the supply of blood and blood products; (b) at what periods in the past has Australia not been self-sufficient in the supply of blood and blood products; (c) what blood products have been imported into Australia since 1975; (d) what quantity of each blood product has been imported; and (e) what are the names and countries of business registration of the companies that manufactured the imported products.

(7) (a) Is the Minister aware that the Australian plasma fractionator CSL Ltd. has, in the past, imported foreign-sourced plasma into Australia which was used to make medical products for therapeutic use in Australia; and (b) can a list be provided of the countries from which the formerly government-controlled CSL, and the currently privatized CSL Ltd., bought plasma.

(8) (a) Is the Minister aware that the practice of accepting blood from prison inmates has occurred in Australia; and (b) on what date was this practice stopped; and (c) what are the names of the prisons where this practice occurred and the time periods in which this practice occurred at each prison.

1782  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—In relation to the working group to examine tenancy database privacy issues:

(1) How many people will the working group comprise.

(2) How will working group members be selected.

(3) From what area or state will working group members be selected.

(4) When will the selection process for the working group commence.

(5) Will the working group advertise its objectives and call for contributions; if so, through what medium of advertising will the working group call for contributions; if not, why not.

(6) Will housing groups or tenancy advocates be able to contribute to the discussion.

(7) Will the working group investigate claims against tenancy database operators made to respective state and territory residential tenancy tribunals; if not, why not.

(8) Will the working group hold public forums for contributions; if so, will these forums be held in each state and territory; if not, why not.

1783  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—In relation to departmental employees who decide to do further study and receive financial assistance:

(1) What guidelines, if any, are in place to ascertain what percentage of fees are paid.

(2) Is the percentage adjusted according to the type of study undertaken.

(3) Are employees aware of the availability of financial assistance or encouraged to undertake tertiary studies.

(4) What processes are in place to inform employees of assistance available should they choose to undertake tertiary studies.

(5) Are employees encouraged to undertake further studies by supervisors, irrespective of work loads; if so, can examples be provided; if not, why not.

1784  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—In relation to the provision of security assessments for Aviation Security Identity cards:

(1) To what will the staff level be reduced once the initial reissue has been completed.

(2) From which areas were the staff seconded.

(3) Were additional staff employed to cover shortfalls in these areas.

(4) What was the total cost involved in the reissuing of the cards for the 2003-04 financial year.

(5) Have any cardholders not been reissued with their cards; if so, can reasons be provided.

1785  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 59 taken during the 2003-04 Budget estimates hearings of the Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee regarding to the agreement with Telstra for the provision of a hotline service:

(1) How many calls were received for each of the billing dates listed in the answer to this question on notice.

(2) How many staff were originally employed to work in the centre.

(3) Have these staff members been relocated to other call centres or retrenched.

(4) Were these staff members employed under a certified agreement; if so, can details of the agreement be provided.

(5) Were there any payout costs associated with the downsizing of the workforce; if so, can details of any payout costs be provided.

(6) Can a comparison of calls to the 1800 service and the general 13 2400 number be provided in the form of a table.

1786  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 60 concerning calls received following the establishment of the hotline to the National Security Information Campaign Taskforce, taken during the 2003-04 Budget estimates hearings of the Legal and Constitutional Legislation Committee:

(1) Can a breakdown be provided of the feedback that was received by: (a) number of calls; (b) categories; and (c) the exact nature of the calls.

(2) Can a copy of the feedback received be provided. 

1788  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—

(1) What is the total budget for the Protective Security Coordination Centre.

(2) Where is the centre located.

(3) Is the centre open 24 hours; if not, (a) what hours is it open; and (b) to where are calls diverted when it is not open.

(4) How many calls does the centre receive each day.

(5) Can a breakdown be provided of calls received each month since the inception of the centre.

(6) Are salaries for staff at the centre paid according to qualifications.

(7) Of the 43 people currently employed within the centre, how many are employed on a full-time, part-time or casual basis. 

1790  Senator Ludwig: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—

(1) Can copies be provided of letters received from the Office of the Status of Women between 22 November 2002 and 19 June 2003, which refer to the statistics of the number of appointments of females and males for each portfolio body.

(2) Is any proactive work being undertaken to address any inequities.

(3) What is the department’s process for dealing with inequities which have been addressed.