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Notice given 12 February 2008

Senator Minchin: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 13-48)—As at 26 November 2007, with reference to the department and all agencies in the Minister’s portfolio:

(1) How many employees are engaged in positions responsible for public affairs, media management, liaison with the media and media monitoring.

(2) What are the responsibilities of these staff.

(3) What are the Australian Public Service classifications of these positions.

(4) For each of the financial years 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, what is the current operating budget for these media-related sections within the department or agency.

17 Minister representing the Treasurer

29 Minister for Climate Change and Water

30 Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

32 Minister for Human Services

33 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

37 Minister representing the Assistant Treasurer

38 Minister representing the Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs

45 Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law

109  Senator Allison: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—

(1) Does the Government stand by its commitment to support a nuclear weapons convention, made on 14 August 2007 by the then Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr Robert McClelland in a speech to the United Nations Association.

(2) Does the Government still consider the idea of a nuclear weapons convention as ‘responsible and timely’; if so, to what extent and in what manner.

(3) Will the Government support moves to implement a nuclear weapons convention in the terms suggested by the Middle Powers Initiative and the updated model nuclear weapons convention, adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly as a discussion document in December 2007.

(4) In detail, what is the Government’s response to the updated model nuclear weapons convention, tabled by Malaysia and Costa Rica in the UN General Assembly Plenary in December 2007.

(5) Will the Government proceed with the creation of a new Canberra Commission, as promised by the Prime Minister (Mr Rudd) prior to the 2007 election; if so, when.

 

 (6) (a) Is the Minister aware that a key recommendation of the original Canberra Commission was the lowering of the operational readiness of nuclear weapons systems; and (b) how has the Government decided to respond to that recommendation and to recommendation 17 of the final report of the Weapons of Mass Destruction Committee, chaired by Dr Hans Blix and tabled on 1 June 2006, to the same effect.

(7) Does the Government consider the UN resolution ‘Renewed determination toward the total elimination of nuclear weapons’ (the renewed determination) to be an appropriate response.

(8) In regard to the more recent resolution L.29 on decreasing the operational readiness of nuclear weapons system, co-sponsored by New Zealand, Chile, Nigeria, Sweden and Switzerland: (a) in what way does it differ from the renewed determination; (b) why did Japan, a co-sponsor of the renewed determination, vote in favour of L.29; (c) were there any reasons, other than the exigencies of time, for the incoming Government not to have voted in support of resolution L.29 on operating status as Japan, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Iceland, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and New Zealand did; (d) what is the reaction of the Government to the passage of that text by the UN General Assembly in a vote of 136 to 3; (e) why did the three nations, with whom Australia so frequently votes, vote for this resolution while Australia abstained; (f) why was this abstention maintained in the UN General Assembly Plenary; (g) from which non-government organisations did the Government receive correspondence suggesting that it ought to change its vote in the Plenary; and (h) is there anything in the text of resolution L.29 that is, or could be interpreted as being, in any way destabilising; if so, what constructive changes might be made to the resolution.

(9)  Will the Government try to advance the issue of nuclear weapons operating status: (a) at the 2008 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Preparatory Committee (NPT PrepCom); (b) at the next UN General Assembly First Committee; and/or (c) in its discussions with the United States of America and/or Russia.

(10) Will the Government consider working together with: (a) New Zealand, Chile, Nigeria, Sweden and Switzerland at the NPT PrepCom to write a working paper on nuclear weapons operational status; (b) the New Agenda group, both on this issue and more widely on nuclear disarmament issues at the NPT PrepCom; and (c) the New Agenda and the Non-Aligned Movement groups, as well as the western groups and the nuclear weapons states, to promote ongoing progress in nuclear disarmament and strategic stability both via the measures set out in the final report of the Year 2000 NPT review and in the renewed determination, and via a lowering in nuclear weapons operational readiness.

(11) What further steps will the Government take towards: (a) lowering nuclear weapons operational readiness; and (b) bringing the world closer to the creation and implementation of a nuclear weapons convention, along the lines of the updated model convention submitted to the UN General Assembly Plenary.

 

Senator Minchin: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 117-152)—With reference to Senator Minchin’s letter to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, dated 1 February 2008, can the following information be provided prior to each round of Estimates and for Additional Estimates by 13 February 2008:

(1) (a) What appointments have been made by the Government (through Executive Council, Cabinet and ministers) to statutory authorities, executive agencies and advisory boards within the Minister’s portfolio; and (b) for each appointment, what are the respective appointee’s credentials.

(2) How many vacancies remain to be filled by ministerial (including Cabinet and Executive Council) appointments.

(3) What grants have been approved by the Minister from within the Minister’s portfolio.

(4) What requests have been submitted to the Department of Finance and Deregulation to move funds within the Minister’s portfolio.

121 Minister representing the Treasurer

124 Minister representing the Minister for Trade

125 Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs

127 Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

131 Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

136 Minister for Human Services

137 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

141 Minister representing the Assistant Treasurer

142 Minister representing the Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs

149 Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law

150 Minister representing the Minister for Ageing ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing on 9 May 2008 )

152 Minister representing the Minister for Sport ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing on 9 May 2008 )

Senator Cormann: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos 225-260)—

(1) (a) Since 24 November 2007, what federal funding, programs and/or services to Western Australia have been cut and/or discontinued in any of the Minister’s portfolio agencies; and (b) what savings have been made from these cuts.

(2) (a) What plans does the Government have to cut and/or discontinue federal funding, programs and/or services to Western Australia in any of the Minister’s portfolio agencies in the coming period; and (b) what estimated savings would be made from these cuts.

229 Minister representing the Treasurer

245 Minister representing the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

249 Minister representing the Assistant Treasurer

250 Minister representing the Minister for Competition Policy and Consumer Affairs

257 Minister for Superannuation and Corporate Law

 

 269  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 couples 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.

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

(1) With reference to the former Treasurer’s statement of 27 June 2007 on the release of the 2006 census information that ‘the Census forms the basis for our electoral system, the provision of services and policy to meet the challenges that we face’: does this mean that the effects of fly-in and fly-out workers who record their domicile elsewhere, or of transient/tourist numbers, will not be sufficiently taken into account for the provision of services in shires such as Roebourne and Wyndham East Kimberley; if not, how are fly-in fly-out or transient/tourist requirements factored in.

(2) Given that, according to the recently released Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) census figures, in the Kimberley Region, between 2001 and 2006, the population of Broome has risen by only 1.8 per cent, or 1 240 people, and in the Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley, by just 0.4 per cent, or 133 people: (a) why do these figures differ from the shires’ views as to significant real population growth; and (b) how were these figures arrived at, given, for instance, that school student numbers, a good indicator of permanency, in the region have risen by more than this amount in absolute terms (e.g. at Kununurra District High School, by at least 13 per cent).

(3) Do census collectors obtain accurate figures from Indigenous communities in the Kimberley; if not, what is the degree of error.

(4) Has the ABS investigated its figures to determine how such apparent small rises in overall population in the Kimberley can be possible, given the rise in housing demand and construction in these areas since the 2001 census and the overall increase in numbers of children enrolled in the local schools, in some areas, up at least 10 per cent.

(5) Given that, according to an ABS seminar in Kununurra in 2007, the community was advised that the figures for the 2006 census were collated based on ‘place of enumeration’ while the method used in the 1996 census and the 2001 census was ‘usual place of residence’: (a) what impact has this change had on the census outcome; and (b) have Australians still continued to identify their usual place of residence (e.g. Perth) rather than place of enumeration (e.g. Argyle Mine).

(6) Can the Treasurer confirm that any funding allocations from the Commonwealth, which are aligned to population numbers based on the census, will take into account other factors, such as housing demand and school enrolments in the East Kimberley, when considering funding allocation.