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Senators in attendance:

Senator Wong, Minister for Finance and Deregulation

Senator Sherry, Minister Assisting on Deregulation, Minister for Small Business, Minister Assisting the Minister for Tourism

Mr Nigel Ray, Executive Director, Fiscal Group

Mr Tony Webster, Senior Advisor, Industry Environment and Defence Division

Mr Steve French, General Manager, Industry Environment and Defence Division

Mr Russ Campbell, Principal Advisor

Ms Natalie Horvat, Manager, Climate Change and Environment Unit

Mr Scott Rogers, Manager, Environment and Agriculture Team

Ms Jenny Allen, Manager, Industry Policy Unit

Mr Kurt Hockey, Manager, National Security Unit

Ms Meghan Quinn, General Manager, Macroeconomic Modelling Division

Ms Luise McCulloch, General Manager, Sustainable Population Strategy Taskforce

Ms Jan Harris, General Manager, Budget Policy Division

Mr Jason Allford, Principal Adviser, Budget Policy Division

Ms Sue Vroombout, General Manager, Commonwealth State Relations Division

Ms Peta Furnell, General Manager, Social Policy Division

Mr Peter Robinson, Principal Adviser

Mr Chris Foster, Principal Adviser

Mr Damien White, Principal Adviser

Mr Jim Murphy, Executive Director, Markets Group

Mr Brad Archer, Acting General Manager, Infrastructure, Competition and Consumer Division

Mr Paul McBride, Principal Adviser

Mr Simon Writer, Manager

Mr Andrew Deitz, Manager

Mr Ian Laurance, Senior Adviser

Mr Geoff Miller, General Manager

Ms Vicki Wilkinson, Principal Adviser

Ms Alix Gallo, Manager, Markets Integrity Unit

Mr Tim Beale, Manager, Investor Protection Unit

Mr Richard Sandlant, Manager, Financial Services Taskforce

Mr Mark Sewell, Corporate Reporting and Accountability Unit

Mr Christian Mikula, Manager, Consumer Credit Unit

Mr Daniel McAuliffe, Acting Manager, Governance and Insolvency Unit

Mr Patrick Colmer, General Manager, Foreign Investment and Trade Policy Division

Mr Frank Di Giorgio, Principal Adviser

Mr John Lonsdale, General Manager

Mr Justin Douglas, Principal Adviser, Banking Units

Ms Kanwaljit Kaur, Manager, Insurance Markets Unit

Mr Jonathan Rollings, Principal Adviser, Superannuation Unit

Mr Peter Martin

Mr Michael Burt

Mr Geoff Turner, Standard Business Reporting Management Group

Mr David Parker, Executive Director, Revenue Group

Ms Brenda Berkeley, General Manager, Indirect Tax Division

Mr Glen McCrea, Manager, Indirect Tax Unit

Ms Christine Barron, General Manager, Tax System Division

Ms Maryanne Mrakovcic, General Manager, Tax Analysis Division

Mr Colin Brown, Manager, Costings and Quantitative Analysis Unit

Mr Phil Gallagher, Manager, Retirement and Intergenerational Modelling Unit

Mr Marty Robinson, Manager, Household Modelling and Analysis Unit

Mr Jyoti Rahman, Manager, Revenue Analysis Unit

Mr Michael Willcock, General Manager

Mr Trevor Thomas, Principal Adviser (Superannuation)

Mr Tony Coles, Principal Adviser (Tax)

Mr Glen McCrae, Manager, Indirect Tax Unit

Ms Brenda Berkeley, Secretary

Mr David Gruen, Executive Director, Macroeconomic Group (Domestic)

Mr Tony McDonald, General Manager, Macroeconomic Policy Division

Mr Steven Morling, General Manager, Domestic Economy Division

Mr Simon Duggan, Principal Adviser (Forecasting)

Mr Paul Flanagan, General Manager, International Finance and Development Division

Mr Bill Brummitt, General Manager, International and G20 Division

Mr Neil Hyden, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Michael Bath, Director Financial Risk

Mr Pat Raccosta, Chief Finance Officer

Mr Andrew Johnson, Head of Reporting

Mr Gerald Dodgson, Head of Treasury Services

Mr Michael D’Ascenzo, Commissioner of Taxation

Ms Jennie Granger, Second Commissioner

Mr David Butler, Second Commissioner

Mr Bruce Quigley, Second Commissioner

Mr Neil Olesen, Deputy Commissioner, Superannuation

Mr Shane Reardon, Deputy Commissioner, Indirect Taxes

Ms Frances Cawthra, Acting Chief Operating Officer

Mr Tony D’Aloisio, Chairman

Ms Belinda Gibson, Deputy Chairman

Mr Shane Teregillis, Commissioner

Mr Michael Dwyer, Commissioner

Mr Michael Kirby, Acting Head of Office

Ms Jenny Gordon, Principal Adviser Research

Mr Ralph Lattimore, Assistant Commissioner

Mr Ian Gibbs, Assistant Commissioner

Mr Alan Johnston, Assistant Commissioner

Mr Ali Noroozi, Inspector-General of Taxation

Mr Andrew McLoughlin, Deputy Inspector-General of Taxation

Dr John Laker, Chairman

Mr Ross Jones, Deputy Chairman

Mr Ian Laughlin, Member

Mr Keith Chapman, Executive General Manager, Supervisory Support Division

Mr Charles Littrell, Executive General Manager, Policy Research and Statistics

Mr Brian Pink, Australian Statistician

Mr Ian Ewing, Deputy Australian Statistician, Macroeconomics and Integration Group

Mr Garth Bode, Acting Deputy Australian Statistician, Social Statistics Group

Mr Denis Farrell, Acting Deputy Australian Statistician, Population, Labour, Industry and Environment Statistics Group

Mr Michael Belcher, Chief Financial Officer

Ms Gillian Nicoll, Assistant Statistician, Office of the Statistician

Mr Paul Lowe, Assistant Statistician, Population Census Branch

Mr Paul Williams, Acting First Assistant Statistician, Population, Labour, Industry, Environment Group

Mr Bruce Hockman, Acting Assistant Statistician, National Accounts Branch

Mr Derick Cullen

Mr Graeme Samuel AC, Chairman

Mr Brian Cassidy, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Marcus Bezzi, Executive General Manager, Enforcement and Compliance Division

Mr Mark Pearson, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Regulation

Ms Jo Schumann, Executive General Manager, Corporate Division

Mr Tim Grimwade, Executive General Manager, Mergers and Acquisitions Group

Ms Michelle Groves, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Energy Regulator

Mr Scott Gregson, Group General Manager, Enforcement Operations Group

Mr Nigel Ridgway, Group General Manager, Compliance Operations Group

Mr Michael Cosgrave, Group General Manager, Communications Group

Mr Adrian Brocklehurst, Chief Finance Officer

Dr Richard Chadwick, General Manager, Adjudication Branch

Ms Helen Lu, General Manager, People Services and Management Branch

Mr Sebastian Roberts, General Manager, Water Branch

Mr John Spasojevic, Secretary Commonwealth Grants Commission

Mr Phillip Parkins, Director, Corporate Services, Commonwealth Grants Commission

CHAIR —I declare open this public hearing of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee. The Senate has referred to the committee the particulars of the proposed expenditure for 2010-11 and related documents for the portfolios of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research; Resources, Energy and Tourism; and Treasury. The committee has set Monday, 25 October as the date by which senators are to submit written questions on notice and has set Friday, 10 December 2010 as the date by which answers to questions on notice are to be returned.

Under standing order 26 the committee must take all evidence in public session. This includes answers to questions on notice. Officers and senators are familiar with the rules of the Senate governing estimates hearings. If you need assistance, the secretariat has copies of the rules. I particularly draw the attention of witnesses to an order of Senate of 13 May 2009 specifying the process by which a claim of public interest immunity should be raised, which I now incorporate in Hansard.

The extract read as follows—

Order of the Senate—Public interest immunity claims

That the Senate—

(a)   notes that ministers and officers have continued to refuse to provide information to Senate committees without properly raising claims of public interest immunity as required by past resolutions of the Senate;

(b)   reaffirms the principles of past resolutions of the Senate by this order, to provide ministers and officers with guidance as to the proper process for raising public interest immunity claims and to consolidate those past resolutions of the Senate;

(c)   orders that the following operate as an order of continuing effect:

(1)   If:

(a)   a Senate committee, or a senator in the course of proceedings of a committee, requests information or a document from a Commonwealth department or agency; and

(b)   an officer of the department or agency to whom the request is directed believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the officer shall state to the committee the ground on which the officer believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, and specify the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(2)   If, after receiving the officer’s statement under paragraph (1), the committee or the senator requests the officer to refer the question of the disclosure of the information or document to a responsible minister, the officer shall refer that question to the minister.

(3)   If a minister, on a reference by an officer under paragraph (2), concludes that it would not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the minister shall provide to the committee a statement of the ground for that conclusion, specifying the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(4)   A minister, in a statement under paragraph (3), shall indicate whether the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee could result only from the publication of the information or document by the committee, or could result, equally or in part, from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee as in camera evidence.

(5)   If, after considering a statement by a minister provided under paragraph (3), the committee concludes that the statement does not sufficiently justify the withholding of the information or document from the committee, the committee shall report the matter to the Senate.

(6)   A decision by a committee not to report a matter to the Senate under paragraph (5) does not prevent a senator from raising the matter in the Senate in accordance with other procedures of the Senate.

(7)   A statement that information or a document is not published, or is confidential, or consists of advice to, or internal deliberations of, government, in the absence of specification of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document, is not a statement that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) or (4).

(8)   If a minister concludes that a statement under paragraph (3) should more appropriately be made by the head of an agency, by reason of the independence of that agency from ministerial direction or control, the minister shall inform the committee of that conclusion and the reason for that conclusion, and shall refer the matter to the head of the agency, who shall then be required to provide a statement in accordance with paragraph (3).

(d)   requires the Procedure Committee to review the operation of this order and report to the Senate by 20 August 2009.

(Agreed to 13 May 2009.)

(Extract, Journals of the Senate, 13 May 2009, p.1941)

CHAIRMAN (Senator Hurley) —The committee will begin consideration of the Treasury portfolio with the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority and will then follow the order as set out on the circulated program. I welcome Senator Sherry, representing the Treasurer; and officers of the department.

[7.17 pm]