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Notice given 16 June 2006

2051  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Since the 1999-2000 financial year, by year, how many internal audits of functions performed by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) have been undertaken.

(2) In each case: (a) who initiated the audit; (b) when did the audit commence; (c) who undertook the audit; (d) when was the audit completed; and (e) what was the result of the audit.

(3) If external consultants were engaged: (a) what was the name of the consultant; (b) what was the cost; and (c) was the consultancy gained through a select or open tender process.

(4) Since the 1999-2000 financial year, by year, how many external audits of functions performed by AQIS have been undertaken.

(5) In each case: (a) who initiated the audit; (b) when did the audit commence; (c) who undertook the audit; (d) when was the audit completed; and (e) what was the result of the audit.

(6) If external consultants were engaged: (a) what was the name of the consultant; (b) what was the cost; and (c) was the consultancy gained through a select or open tender process.

2064  Senator Webber: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—

(1) What is meant by ‘the commonsense test in litigation’.

(2) Does this commonsense test include a cost-benefit analysis.

(3) Do all cases involving the department pass the commonsense test in litigation.

(4) To date since 2001, what is the total amount spent by the department on litigation involving HMAS Melbourne .

2065  Senator Webber: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—

(1) Is the department handling the claims for compensation by former sailors of HMAS Melbourne in a fair-minded and compassionate manner.

 

 (2) Given criticism of the department for its steadfast opposition to claims for compensation by former service personnel, is any consideration being given to reviewing this opposition as a way of achieving savings in litigation and costs.

(3) Does the litigation directorate of the department oppose all cases as a matter of course with a standard approach of proceeding to litigation resulting in increased costs.

2066  Senator Webber: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—

(1) Has provision been made in future estimates for ongoing HMAS  Melbourne and HMAS Voyager litigation; if so, how much has been budgeted.

(2) Has the department provided any advice on whether the introduction of a mediation scheme similar to that used for HMAS Voyager claimants would be appropriate for HMAS Melbourne claimants.

(3) What cost savings would a mediation scheme offer over the current litigation approach.

2068  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—Can details be provided of the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States of America, Canada and Ireland in May 2006 including: (a) the date of departure from Australia; (b) a detailed itinerary including all official meetings; (c) details of departmental officers, including name and role, who accompanied the Prime Minister; (d) details of personal staff, including name and role, who accompanied the Prime Minister; (e) details of family members who accompanied the Prime Minister; (f) details of other persons, including name and role, who accompanied the Prime Minister; and (g) the date of return to Australia.

Senator O’Brien: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 2069-2070)—

(1) Can details be provided of all costs associated with the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States of America, Canada and Ireland in May 2006, disaggregated to show costs including: (a) transport: (b) accommodation; (c) food; (d) beverages; (e) security; and (f) other specified costs.

(2) Can details be provided of costs associated with all: (a) personal staff; (b) departmental staff; (c) family members; and (d) other persons who accompanied the Prime Minister on this visit.

2069 Minister representing the Prime Minister

2071  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—With reference to the Prime Minister’s visit to the United States of America, Canada and Ireland in May 2006: Can details be provided of the accommodation for each night, including:

(a) the name and address of the accommodation;

(b) the number of rooms or suites booked for: (i) the Prime Minister, and (ii) other members of the Prime Minister’s party;

(c) the cost of accommodation for: (i) the Prime Minister, and (ii) other members of the Prime Minister’s party; and

(d) the cost of: (i) food, (ii) beverages, and (iii) other specified items, for: ( a ) the Prime Minister, and ( b ) other members of the Prime Minister’s party.

 

 2078  Senator Murray: To ask the Minister representing the Treasurer—

(1) What costs would be incurred and what ramifications are there if the administration of the Medicare Levy surcharge was adjusted to ensure that it affects or is calculated for same sex couple on the same basis as mixed sex couples.

(2) In view of the Prime Minister’s statements in favour of ending discriminatory provisions, does the government intend to address this deficiency.