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Notice given 1 December 2003

*2431  Senator Faulkner: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—

(1) Since March 1996, on how many occasions has the Prime Minister stayed at Claridges Hotel in Mayfair, London.

(2) On what dates did the Prime Minister stay at this self-described “five star, de luxe, luxury” hotel.

(3) On his most recent trip to London, did the Prime Minister stay in the Brook Apartment penthouse suite, described by the hotel as ‘220 square metres/2,368 square feet (approximately), 2 King Beds. This stunning apartment has been restored in the Art Deco style with an elegant, gentle mauve décor, light oak floors and original fittings from the 1930s. The bedrooms are large and luxurious, each with their own dressing-rooms. The marble bathrooms are equally splendid with extra deep baths and separate showers. A beautiful sitting-room with full height windows looks out onto a stunning private roof terrace. In addition, there is an elegant dining-room with a cocktail bar and cloakroom. A personal butler service is provided with the penthouse’.

(4) What was the cost of the Prime Minister’s: (a) accommodation; (b) food; (c) beverages; and (c) other items (please specify) at Claridges for this recent trip.

(5) How many other rooms and suites were used by the Prime Minister’s party for this trip, and for what purposes.

(6) For the Prime Minister’s most recent trip, what were the costs for the Prime Minister’s party, excluding the Prime Minister, of: (a) accommodation; (b) food; (c) beverages; and (d) other items (please specify).

(7) Apart from the services provided and paid for outlined under (3) and (4) above, did the hotel provide any other services to the Prime Minister and his party.

(8) Has the bill for the hotel been presented and paid; if not, why not; if so, who paid the bill.

(9) On each of the occasions the Prime Minister has used this hotel since 1996, has he always stayed at the Brook Apartment penthouse suite; if not, on which occasion has he used other suites in the hotel, and which suites were used.

(10) On each occasion that the Prime Minister stayed at the hotel, what was the cost of the Prime Minister’s: (a) accommodation; (b) food; (c) beverages; and (c) other items (please specify).

(11) On each occasion that the Prime Minister stayed at the hotel since March 1996, how much was paid by the department to the hotel for associated costs excluding the amounts at (7) above.

*2432  Senator Faulkner: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—

(1) During the recent visit to Australia of the President of the United States of America, George W Bush, did the President stay overnight at the United States Embassy in Canberra.

(2) How many official international visits has the Prime Minister undertaken since March 1996.

(3) Given the heightened security situation, on how many occasions has the Prime Minister used accommodation at any High Commission, Embassy or Consulate, or residence thereof.

*2433  Senator Faulkner: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Small Business and Tourism—

(1) Did the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, the Hon Joe Hockey MP, present a $50 000 donation to the Children’s Cancer Institute Australia, on the Nine Network’s television program Reno Rumble on 26 November 2003.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that the $50 000 donation, which was attributed directly to the Prime Minister by Mr Hockey on the program, was not Commonwealth Government funding.

(3)  If the $50 000 was a Commonwealth grant: (a) from which departmental program was the $50 000 drawn; and (b) was fact that the $50 000 was a taxpayer-funded grant acknowledged at any point in the reality television program.

*2434  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) What is the current estimate of cost for Stage 1 of the internal bypass at Albury Wodonga.

(2) Can a schedule be provided of the cost estimate changes over the past 3 years, together with the factors that have caused those changes

(3) Is it the case that there has been a recent change in the design of the bypass to reduce the central median divider between the dual carriageways from 15 metres to 11 metres: if so: (a) was this change made in order to reduce costs; (b) how much is saved by this change; (c) what advice was sought with regard to the safety implications of the change and can a copy of the advice be provided; and (d) is it the case that there is no intention to construct a central crash barrier, despite the narrowing of the median divider; if not, what advice is available to indicate that the design change will not seriously affect safety on the roadway and contribute to more head-on accidents.

(4) Can the Minister confirm that the 1995 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)/Energy Efficient Strategies (EES) used rural freeway accident statistics from 1994, which involved a section of the Hume Freeway with approximately 2 000 vehicles per day.

(5) Does the Minister agree that most of these vehicles would have been driven by professional drivers and yet the EIS applied this accident rate to both the external bypass and the internal bypass, which has very close interchanges, with many more vehicles than the external bypass.

(6) Can the Minister confirm that this deficiency was recognised in the Granherne March 2001 hazardous goods report, which pointed to the experience from the F6 freeway at Wollongong, where the urban section had an accident rate 5.6 times higher than the rural section of the freeway.

(7) Is the Minister aware of any expert reports which suggest that the situation at Albury will be significantly worse than that of the F6 freeway due to the closeness of the interchanges, the large amount of traffic mixing and the intention to operate the portion adjacent to the CBD at 80 to 90 kph instead of 110 kph; if so, will a full audited investigation of the accident risks, to be conducted by the NSW Roads and Traffic Authority before the project is put out to tender, be required; if not, why not.

*2435  Senator Marshall: To ask the Minister for Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs—

(1) Does Australia currently have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Cambodia in relation to immigration matters and/or the repatriation of failed asylum seekers; if so: (a) when was it negotiated and signed; and (b) can a copy of the MOU be provided; if so, when; if not, why not.

(2) If there is not a current MOU between Australia and Cambodia regarding immigration matters: (a) has the Government sought to negotiate one; if so, when; and (b) what has prevented the signing of such an agreement or understanding.

(3) (a) Does Australia currently have a MOU with Vietnam in relation to immigration matters and/or the repatriation of failed asylum seekers; if so, when was it negotiated and signed; and (b) can a copy of the MOU be provided; if so, when; if not, why not.

(4) If there is not a current MOU between Australia and Vietnam regarding immigration matters: (a) has the Government sought to negotiate one; if so, when; and (b) what has prevented the signing of such an agreement or understanding.

*2436  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 2184 (Senate Hansard , 24 November 2003, p. 17675): Given that the Government advised that it had commissioned research into the economic drivers of the illicit drug market and illicit drug marketing strategies: (a) when was the research was commissioned; (b) when is the report due to be tabled in Parliament; (c) what was the cost of the tender(s); and (d) who is the successful tenderer.