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Notice given 14 July 2006

2152  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) Can the Minister outline the role of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) Dangerous Goods/Cabin Safety Specialist.

(2) Does the CASA Dangerous Goods/Cabin Safety Specialist represent CASA on the Australian Dangerous Goods Air Transport Council (ADGATC).

(3) Can the Minister outline the composition and role of the ADGATC.

(4) Does the CASA Dangerous Goods/Cabin Safety Specialist represent CASA on the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Dangerous Goods Panel.

(5) Can the Minister outline the composition and role of this panel, including its role in the development of ICAO Technical Instructions for the Safe Transport of Dangerous Goods By Air.

(6) Does the CASA Dangerous Goods/Cabin Safety Specialist also represent CASA on ICAO Dangerous Goods Panel working groups, including working groups examining the carriage of dangerous goods by passengers and crew and cargo aircraft loading principles.

(7) Can the Minister outline the composition and role of each of these working groups.

(8) Does the CASA Dangerous Goods/Cabin Safety Specialist represent CASA on the Australian Dangerous Goods Competent Authorities Panel, the Radioactive Material Competent Authorities Working Group and Standards Australia committees.

(9) Can the Minister outline the composition and role of each of these bodies.

(10) Does the CASA Dangerous Goods/Cabin Safety Specialist perform the role of competent authority for the assessment of radioactive material packaging for air transport.

(11) Is the CASA Dangerous Goods/Cabin Safety Specialist the project officer for the post-implementation review of Part 92 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.

 

 (12) Has the position of the current CASA Dangerous Goods/Cabin Safety Specialist been abolished as part of the CASA restructure announced in February 2006; if so, how will that decision affect the safety functions performed by the CASA Dangerous Goods/Cabin Safety Specialist, including but not necessarily limited to each of the functions identified above.

(13) Is: (a) the Minister; (b) the department; and (c) CASA, aware of concern by aviation industry stakeholders about the consequences of the decision to abolish this position.

(14) Has: (a) the Minister; (b) the department; and (c) CASA, received any formal representations from aviation industry stakeholders urging a review or reversal of the decision to abolish this position; if so, what action has: (a) the Minister; (b) the department; and (c) CASA, taken in response to those representations; if not action has been taken, why not.

2154  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service—With reference to the Ministerial Conversations Series hosted by the Australian Public Service Commission:

(1) Can details be provided for each seminar since the inception of the series, including the date, duration location, speaker and number of attendees by department and agency.

(2) Can the Minister confirm that attendance at each seminar costs departments and agencies $110 per officer.

(3) What related attendance fees has the Australian Public Service Commission collected from each department and agency.

(4) What costs has the Australian Public Service Commission incurred in relation to the Ministerial Conversations Series, disaggregated to show venue, food, beverages, speaker and other identified costs.

2155  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service—With reference to the Preparing to Appear Before Parliamentary Committees seminars hosted by the Australian Public Service Commission:

(1) Can details be proved for each seminar since inception, including the date, duration, location, presenters (including external presenters) and number of attendees by department and agency.

(2) Can a copy of all related training materials be provided.

(3) Can the Minister confirm that attendance at each seminar costs departments and agencies $1,700 per officer.

(4) What related attendance fees has the Australian Public Service Commission collected from each department and agency.

(5) For each seminar, what costs were incurred by the Australian Public Service Commission, disaggregated to show venue, food, beverages, external consultants and other identified costs.

 

 2156  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service—With reference to the Parliamentary Committees - Managing the Politics, Perception and Risk sessions hosted by the Australian Public Service Commission:

(1) Can details be provided for each session since inception, including the date, duration, location, presenters (including external presenters) and number of attendees by department and agency.

(2) Can a copy of all related training materials be provided.

(3) Can the Minister confirm that attendance at each seminar costs departments and agencies $230 per officer.

(4) What related attendance fees has the Australian Public Service Commission collected from each department and agency.

(5) For each session, what costs were incurred by the Australian Public Service Commission, disaggregated to show venue, food, beverages, external consultants and other identified costs.

(6) Can the Minister confirm that: (a) the Australian Public Service Commission advertised a session in the April 2006 issue of the Public Sector Informant advising prospective attendees that attendance would help them understand ‘how you need to prepare for a successful parliamentary committee appearance and what approach can be career-threatening’; and (b) the same description of the session is published on the Australian Public Service Commission website.

(7) Can details be provided of the ‘career-threatening’ approaches covered in the session.

(8) Can the Minister confirm the Australian Public Service Commission advertisement in the April 2006 issue of the Public Sector Informant also advised prospective attendees that attendance would help them gain an understanding of the ‘politics behind’ the parliamentary committee process.

(9) Does section 10(1) of the Public Service Act 1999 provide that ‘the APS is apolitical, performing its functions in an impartial and professional manner’.

(10) What is the nature of the political advice provided to attendees at these sessions hosted by the Australian Public Service Commission.

(11) What political expertise does the Australian Public Service Commission possess.

(12) Can the Minister confirm the Australian Public Service Commission advertisement in the April 2006 issue of the Public Sector Informant also advised prospective attendees they would receive ‘insider tips on how to provide evidence’.

(13) What ‘insider advice’ is offered by the Australian Public Service Commission at these sessions.

(14) Can the Minister confirm the Australian Public Service Commission advertisement in the April 2006 issue of the Public Sector Informant also advised prospective attendees they would receive ‘advice on questions on notice’.

(15) What advice does the Australian Public Service Commission provide at these sessions in relation to questions on notice.

 

Senator O’Brien: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 2157-2175)—

(1) What Senate estimates training sessions have officers of the Minister’s departments and agencies attended in the past 3 financial years, by year.

(2) For each of the past 3 financial years: (a) how many officers participated in; and (b) what was the total cost of, training for Senate estimates, by department and agency and by financial year.

(3) Where training has been provided by a private provider, what was the name of the provider and the associated cost.

2157 Minister representing the Prime Minister

2158 Minister representing the Minister for Trade

2159 Minister representing the Treasurer

2160 Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs

2161 Minister for Finance and Administration

2162 Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

2164 Minister representing the Attorney-General

2166 Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

2167 Minister representing the Minister for Defence

2169 Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

2170 Minister for the Environment and Heritage

2173 Minister representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training

2174 Minister representing the Minister for Human Services

2177  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Did Marnic Worldwide Pty Ltd send a facsimile request to the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) on 23 October 2004, seeking to amend competent authorities for certifying fish products from Indonesia.

(2) Was that request sent to Biosecurity Australia by AQIS for advice; if so, on what date and in what form was that request from Marnic to AQIS communicated to Biosecurity Australia.

(3) Did a senior assessing officer in the Biological Unit of AQIS advise Marnic by way of email that Biosecurity Australia would contact the Indonesian Government to confirm that the Indonesian departments listed as competent authorities on Marnic’s import permit were correct.

(4) What was the name of the officer who sent the above email to Marnic.

(5) Was the above email sent by the AQIS officer to Marnic on 26 October 2004.

(6) Did that email advise Marnic that once AQIS received advice from Biosecurity Australia about the amendments required by Marnic the permit would be updated and faxed to the company.

(7) Was that advice to Marnic on 26 October 2004 based on communications with Biosecurity Australia; if so: (a) what was the form of those communications; (b) when did those communications take place; (c) who were the officers involved in those communications; and (d) how and where were those communications recorded; if not, on what basis was the advice to Marnic on 26 October 2004 given.

 

 (8) Did the report prepared by Mr Dalton following his investigation into a claim for detriment by Marnic caused by defective administration refer to an application by Marnic for non-accredited certifying bodies in Indonesia to be added to its import permit being lodged on 22 October 2004.

(9) Was this the same request referred to in the email from AQIS to Marnic dated 26 October 2004; if so, why is the date of the communication from Marnic to AQIS in the above email identified as 23 October 2004 but the date for the same communication reported by Mr Dalton as 22 October.

(10) If there were two communications between Marnic and AQIS in relation to a request to amend the company’s permit: (a) what was the form of the second communication; (b) who in AQIS received the second communication; and (c) what action was taken following the receipt this second communication.

2181  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to evidence to the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Legislation Committee hearing on 24 May 2006 (Committee Hansard p. 19):

(1) Can the Minister confirm the evidence given by Mr Grant that, at that date, an assessment of compensation for Marnic Worldwide Pty Ltd had not occurred.

(2) Can the Minister confirm evidence given by Mr Grant that the lawyers representing the officer investigating the Marnic claim, Mr Dalton, had written to the lawyers representing the company seeking documents that would see out the basis of the claim.

(3) On what date was the above letter from Mr Dalton’s legal representatives sent to Marnic’s legal advisers.

(4) Can the Minister confirm that Minter Ellison Lawyers, acting on behalf of the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS), wrote to Talbot Olivier Lawyers, acting on behalf of Marnic, on 25 May 2006 advising that AQIS had formed a view that Marnic could not seek damages on the basis of the following categories:

(a) loss of future income due to default by Marnic and the closing of supplier’s factories;

(b) loss of the total Marnic business; and

(c) loss of the value of the Marnic business as a saleable entity on the international market.

(5) Was advice sought from the Department of Finance and Administration (DoFA) by: (a) AQIS; (b) Mr Dalton; and (c) someone acting on behalf of AQIS or Mr Dalton, in relation to the application of the Compensation for Detriment Caused by Defective Administration Scheme to the Marnic claim prior to the approval of the above letter, dated 25 May 2006; if so: (i) who sought the advice, (ii) when was the advice provided, and (iii) who provided the advice.

(6) If DoFA did provide advice, did that advice endorse the terms of the above letter; if so, what was the set of facts relating to the Marnic claim provided to DoFA with the above request.

(7) If the DoFA advice did not endorse the terms of the above letter, what was the nature of the advice.

 

 (8) Given Mr Grant’s evidence to the Senate committee that the assessment of the claim for compensation by Marnic had not taken place as at 24 May 2006, when did AQIS form the view that a number of aspects of the Marnic claim ought to be excluded.

(9) (a) On what date were the contents of the above letter from Minter Ellison Lawyers to Talbot Olivier Lawyers approved by AQIS; (b) which AQIS officer approved the contents of the letter; and (c) what advice was provided by AQIS to the Minister, or his office, relating to the decision to exclude a number of claim categories from the Marnic application for compensation.

(10) Can the Minister confirm that the above letter also advised the legal representatives of Marnic that it was likely that there would be further facts discussed and agreed as part of the compensation assessment process.

(11) If the establishment of the factual basis for the Marnic claim was not complete as at 25 May 2006, and there were to be further facts discussed and agreed as part of this assessment process, on what basis did AQIS determine that Marnic would be refused the opportunity to seek compensation for losses in relation to the three categories identified above.

2183  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) With reference to calls to the Employee Assistance Program for the period 30 June 2003 to 30 June 2006, by portfolio agency, by month: (a) how many calls were logged; and (b) what was this as a percentage of Full Time Equivalents by agency.

(2) What was the cost of the program for each portfolio agency in the 2004, 2005 and 2006 financial years.

2184  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—

(1) For each financial year since 2003-04, on how many occasions has the Government permitted the vessel POS Auckland to operate on the Australian coastline under a single or continuous voyage permit.

(2) On each occasion: (a) what type of permit was it issued; (b) what Australian ports did the vessel visit; and (c) what cargo (including high consequence dangerous goods) did it carry.

2185  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the vessel POS Auckland which was at the centre of a maritime security incident at the Port of Geelong in June 2006:

(1) What was the number and nationality of the crew.

(2) When did the vessel arrive at the Port of Geelong.

(3) What was the nature and volume of cargo loaded or discharged at the Port of Geelong.

(4) What was the vessel’s proximity to the Shell refinery while moored.

(5) When and at what time did the Minister and/or the department (including the Office of Transport Security) become aware of the incident aboard the vessel.

(6) What was the source of information about the incident.

(7) When and at what time did the master of the vessel raise the security level in response to a security threat aboard the vessel.

 

 (8) Can the Minister confirm the claim by Detective Senior Constable Damian McKeegan, published in the Geelong Advertiser on 19 June 2006, that the master raised the vessel to security level three.

(9) Can the Minister confirm that level three is the highest security level under the International Ship and Port Facility Security Code.

(10) Does raising the security level to three represent an exceptional measure that is applied only when there is credible information that a security incident is probable or imminent.

(11) How did: (a) the Port of Geelong; and (b) the Government, respond to the raising of the security level.

(12) When and at what time was the security level restored to level one.

(13) Can the Minister confirm whether the security level was raised in response to the actions of a crew member.

(14) What was the nationality of this crew member and what was his role aboard the vessel.

(15) Did this crew member: (a) stab a fellow crew member; and/or (b) assault a fellow crew member with a hammer; and/or (c) lock himself in the engine room; and/or (d) open fuel values in the engine room flooding it with diesel; and/or (e) threaten to blow up the ship.

(16) When and at what time or times did these actions occur.

(17) How did the Government respond to this incident.

(18) When did the vessel depart the Port of Geelong.

(19) (a) Which Australian ports did the vessel visit before and after the Port of Geelong; and (b) when.

Senator O’Brien: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 2187-2188)—

(1) Was Congress Daily journalist Mr Jerry Hagstrom prevented from attending a press conference by the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry at the Australian Embassy in Washington in April 2006; if so: why was Mr Hagstrom prevented from attending the press conference.

(2) Did the Minister authorise Mr Hagstrom’s exclusion from the press conference; if not, who authorised Mr Hagstrom’s exclusion.

(3) Was Mr Hagstrom directed to leave the embassy forecourt by security staff.

(4) Did the Minister authorise the direction to Mr Hagstrom to leave the embassy forecourt; if not, who authorised this direction.

2188 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

2189  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) When was: (a) the Minister; (b) the Minister’s office; (c) the department; and (d) the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) provided with the Single Vision Grains Australia report Towards a single vision for Australian grain marketing funded by taxpayers and grain growers through the GRDC.

(2) Was: (a) the Minister; (b) the Minister’s office; (c) the department; or (d) the GRDC, provided with a draft copy of the report; if so, when and who was the source.

 

 2191  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to a report in the Weekly Times of 5 July 2006 about the release of the Single Vision Grains Australia (SVGA) report Towards a single vision for Australian grain marketing :

(1) When, in August 2006, will the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) meet to review funding for SVGA.

(2) Is the review a scheduled review; if so, can dates be provided of all such scheduled reviews of SVGA funding; if not, what is the basis of the review.

(3) If the answer to this question on notice is not provided prior to the August 2006 review of SVGA funding, can details be provided of the outcome of the review.

2192  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Single Vision Grains Australia (SVGA) report Towards a single vision for Australian grain marketing funded by taxpayers and grain growers through the Grains Research and Development Corporation:

(1) What process was used to select the industry organisations listed as ‘organisations we consulted’ on page 27 of the report.

(2) Can details be provided of the unidentified ‘smaller organisations’ that were also consulted.

(3) When was the Grains Council of Australia consulted by SVGA on the future of the single desk.

(4) Was the Wheat Growers Association consulted by the SVGA; if not, why not.

2193  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Single Vision Grains Australia (SVGA) report Towards a single vision for Australian grain marketing funded by taxpayers and grain growers through the Grains Research and Development Corporation:

(1) Can the Minister confirm the claim on page 55 of the report that the Minister’s department was ‘updated on Single Vision Grains Australia activities during the course of the project’.

(2) Can details be provided of all occasions on which the SVGA ‘updated’ the Minister’s department on its activities.

2194  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—With reference to the Single Vision Grains Australia (SVGA) report Towards a single vision for Australian grain marketing funded by taxpayers and grain growers through the Grains Research and Development Corporation: Is the Minister aware of the report’s claim that: ‘The Wheat Export Authority does not use a “proper” methodology to evaluate single desk price premiums. It attempts to measure premiums by comparing prices for different grades of wheat with comparable prices received by other exporters. This is a flawed methodology’; if so, has the Minister asked the Wheat Export Authority (WEA) to respond to the claim it employs a ‘flawed methodology’ and how has the WEA responded.

 

 2195  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—How many members of the so-called interim board of the Grains Research and Development Corporation-funded unincorporated venture Single Vision Grains Australia are grain growers.

2196  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry—

(1) Does the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC)-funded unincorporated venture Single Vision Grains Australia (SVGA) operate from offices at the corner of Loraine and Ricky Streets, Capalaba, Queensland.

(2) When did SVGA commence operation from these premises.

(3) Does the unincorporated venture SVGA own or lease these premises.

(4) If SVGA owns the premises when were the premises purchased and what was the purchase price.

(5) If SVGA leases the premises: (a) when was the lease signed; (b) what is the term of the lease; and (c) what is the value of the lease payments.

(6) Does the GRDC own or lease these premises.

(7) If the GRDC owns the premises when were the premises purchased and what was the purchase price.

(8) If the GRDC leases the premises: (a) when was the lease signed; (b) what is the term of the lease; and (c) what is the value of the lease payments.

(9) If another entity owns or leases the premises can details be provided.

Senator O’Brien: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 2200-2203)—

(1) Is the Minister or the department aware of a report published in the Australian of 8 December 2005 that the Government of Pakistan has launched an inquiry into alleged kickbacks paid to Pakistani officials by AWB Limited.

(2) Has: (a) the Government of Pakistan sought any assistance from the Australian Government in relation to its inquiry into alleged kickbacks paid by AWB Limited to Pakistani officials including officials of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock; or (b) the Australian Government offered the Government of Pakistan any assistance to enable it to investigate alleged kickbacks paid by AWB Limited to Pakistani officials including officials of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock; if so, can the Minister advise how the Minister or any department or agency for which he is responsible has assisted the Government of Pakistan.

(3) Has the Minister or the department received any advice of the outcome of any investigation undertaken by the Government of Pakistan in relation to alleged kickbacks paid by AWB Limited to Pakistani officials; if so: (a) can any outcomes of any investigation be provided; and (b) if the Government of Pakistan has sought further action or assistance from the Australian Government, what action or assistance has been sought and how has the Australian Government responded.

2200 Minister for Justice and Customs

2201 Minister for Justice and Customs

2202 Minister for Justice and Customs

2203 Minister for Justice and Customs

 

Senator O’Brien: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 2208-2225)—

(1) What entitlement do partners or family members of senior officers of the department, or agencies for which the Minister is responsible, have to travel at government expense.

(2) If an entitlement exists, by department and/or agency: (a) what process is used to assess whether the travel costs of partners or family members are met by the Government; (b) who undertakes such an assessment; and (c) who approves funding for partner or family travel.

2208 Minister representing the Minister for Trade

2210 Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs

2211 Minister for Finance and Administration

2212 Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services

2213 Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

2214 Minister representing the Attorney-General

2215 Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts

2216 Minister for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs

2217 Minister representing the Minister for Defence

2218 Minister representing the Minister for Industry, Tourism and Resources

2220 Minister for the Environment and Heritage

2222 Minister representing the Minister for Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

2223 Minister representing the Minister for Education, Science and Training

2224 Minister representing the Minister for Human Services

2225 Minister representing the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

2226  Senator O’Brien: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Trade—

(1) Can an outline be provided of the role played by departmental officials in negotiations with representatives of the Government of Yemen in 1999 to secure Australian wheat sales to Yemen.

(2) How did officials work with the Australian Wheat Board/AWB Limited during these negotiations.

(3) (a) When did these negotiations commence; and (b) when did they conclude.

(4) (a) What was the outcome of the negotiations; and (b) if a contract for the sale of wheat was secured, what was the term and value of the contract.

(5) What knowledge did: (a) the Minister; (b) the Minister’s office; (c) the department; and (d) the Wheat Export Authority, have of any related agency payments authorised by the Australian Wheat Board/AWB Limited in relation to wheat sales to Yemen.