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Notice given 9 September 2003

1937  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—For each of the past 10 years: (a) how much federal funding has been allocated to environment groups in Australia; and (b) how much went to each environment group which was funded, directly or indirectly. 

1941  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—

(1) How has the Government responded to Alzheimers Australia’s call for dementia to be made a national health priority.

(2) What are the age and demographic trends for dementia in Australia.

(3) What financial, respite or other government assistance is available to people caring for dementia suffers at home. 

Senator Brown: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 1944-1945)—With reference to wheat streak mosaic virus:

(1) Has the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation or any other Australian research organisation, ever imported the virus for research or any other purpose: if so; (a) who licenced and monitored importation of the virus; (b) when was the virus imported; (c) by what means was the virus imported; (d) by what route was the virus imported and transported; (e) in which facilities is, or in which facilities was, the virus stored and used; (f) has the virus been transported to other facilities; (g) has the virus imported under OGTR/GMAC1507 been destroyed; (h) who is or was responsible for containing and managing the virus; (i) has the Office of the Gene Technology Regulation (OGTR) ever inspected, assessed or approved any facilities in which the organisms licenced under GMAC1507 are stored or used; if so, what were the results of those inspections; (j) is there any evidence that the virus may have escaped from storage or research facilities into any other environments; (k) is there any evidence that the virus, licenced by OGTR/GMAC1507 or any other research project using the virus, may be the source of infections recently identified in wheat plants in various research facilities around Australia.

(2) If the virus was used for research or other purposes in Australia, what evidence shows that this was not the source of the current infection in wheat at various locations, which threatens the Australian wheat industry.

1944 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

1945 Minister representing the Minister for Science

Senator Brown: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 1946-1947)— With reference to wheat streak mosaic virus was the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, or any other Australian research organisation, aware of the presence of the virus in Australia prior to the 2003 outbreak at research institutions; if so: (a) which research organisations were involved; (b) when was the virus detected; (c) has the virus been researched; if so, is this the reason for the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee (GMAC) and Office of the Gene Technology Regulation (OGTR) licenses; (d) was the virus transported; if so, (i) how, (ii) where to, and (iii) when was the virus transported; (e) in which facilities is, or in which facilities was, the virus stored and used; (f) has the WSMV virus been transported to other facilities; (g) has the virus been destroyed; (h) who is or was responsible for containing and managing the virus; (i) has the OGTR ever inspected, assessed or approved any facilities in which the organisms licenced under GMAC1507 (OGTR 5607) are stored or used; if so, what were the results of those inspections; (j) is there any evidence that the virus may have escaped from storage or research facilities into any other environments; and (k) is there any evidence that the virus licenced by OGTR 5607/GMAC1507 or any other research project using the virus may be the source of plant infections recently identified in wheat plants in various research facilities around Australia.

1946 Minister representing the Minister for Science

1947 Minister representing the Minister for Science

Senator Brown: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 1948-1949)—In relation to wheat streak mosaic virus:

(1) Has the Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Office (CSIRO) or any other Australian research organisation ever obtained: (a) the agreement of the Genetic Manipulation Advisory Committee (GMAC); and/or (b) a licence from the Office of Gene Technology Regulation (OGTR), for the use of genetically modified viruses and/or plants in a genetic engineering research project entitled ‘the use of virus vectors for gene silencing in plants (virus induced gene silencing)’.

(2) Does the deemed licence issued by the OGTR, identified by the GMAC number 1507 and appearing on the OGTR's public register as GMO Dealing Not Involving Release (DNIR) OGTR 5607, licence the use of various genetically-engineered viruses.

(3) Does the deemed licence, issued to the CSIRO, include approval for the use of ‘GMO5 Wheat Streak Mosaic Virus’.

1949 Minister representing the Minister for Science

1950  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—

(1) Did the Government receive a legal opinion from the Australian Government Solicitor about whether or not it was constitutionally possible for the Commonwealth to deliver a legally binding and enforceable right of veto to the States in relation to the rate of a goods and services tax (GST); if so; can a copy of that opinion be provided.

(2) Since the passage of the GST legislation, do the state and territory governments have a legally binding and enforceable right of veto over changes to the rate of the GST now and in the future. 

1952  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment and Heritage—

(1) Have Benaris Energy NV and Woodside Energy Ltd applied to the Commonwealth for permits to undertake seismic testing and survey work in coastal waters around south eastern Australia; if so, where.

(2) Will the testing include 3D seismic surveys.

(3) Will the testing include the 12 Apostles Marine National Park.

(4) What are the impacts of 3D seismic testing on marine animals and are the impacts variable depending on the reproductive cycles of the animals; if so, will the Government prohibit testing during breeding and spawning periods.

(5) What consultation has the Government conducted with local communities and key stakeholder groups in relation to the proposed Benaris and Woodside seismic surveys; if none, why.

(6) Does the Government require the application for permits to be publicly advertised; if not, why not.

(7) Will the Government exercise the precautionary principle in relation to these permit applications. 

1960  Senator Evans: To ask the Minister for Defence—

(1) How many security clearance applications are currently waiting to be processed by the Defence Security Authority.

(2) How many security clearance re-evaluations are currently waiting to be processed by the Defence Security Authority.

(3) Can a breakdown be provided of how long all security clearances waiting to be processed, including re-evaluations and new applications, have been delayed, for example, x applications are delayed by 1 month, y applications are delayed by 2 months etc.

(4) What has such a large backlog developed.

(5) What is the current estimate of the length of time it will take before the backlog is fully cleared.

(6) What processes or initiatives are being put in place to reduce the backlog.

(7) What processes or initiatives are being put in place to ensure that such a backlog does not arise again in the future. 

1965  Senator Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—Is it true that the area in which the major West Papuan refugee centre in Papua New Guinea is located is to be logged; if so: (a) what will be the impact on the refugees; and (b) what is Australia doing to ensure the logging is not detrimental to the refugees.