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Economics Legislation Committee


In Attendance

Senator Cormann, Minister for Finance

Senator McGrath, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister

Department of the Treasury

Mr John Fraser, Secretary

Macroeconomic Group

Mr Nigel Ray, Deputy Secretary

Mr Chris Legg, Chief Adviser, International Policy and Engagement Division

Dr Michael Kouparitsas, Division Head, Macroeconomic Modelling and Policy Division

Dr John Swieringa, Principal Adviser, Macroeconomic Modelling and Policy Division

Mr Warren Tease, Division Head, Macroeconomic Conditions Division

Dr Angelia Grant, Principal Adviser, Macroeconomic Conditions Division

Corporate Group

Mr Peter Robinson, Chief Operating Officer

Ms Phoebe Burgess, Chief People Officer

Mr Eamonn Rooney, Chief Information Officer

Mr Robert Twomey, Chief Financial Officer

Ms Kathleen O'Kane, Acting Division Head, Parliamentary and Legal Services Division

Ms Shannon Kenna, Acting Division Head, Communications Division

Revenue Group

Ms Maryanne Mrakovcic, Deputy Secretary

Ms Kathryn Davy, Acting Division Head, Corporate and International Tax Division

Mr Robert Raether, Division Head, Corporate and International Tax Division

Mr Geoff Francis, Principal Adviser, Corporate and International Tax Division

Ms Lynn Kelly, Chief Adviser, Corporate and International Tax Division

Mr Graeme Davis, Acting Division Head, Tax Framework Division

Mr David Pearl, Treasury Co-Lead, Black Economy Task Force Secretariat

Mrs Marisa Purvis-Smith, Division Head, Individuals and Indirect Tax Division

Mr Robert Jeremenko, Chief Adviser, Individuals and Indirect Tax Division

Mr Bede Fraser, Principal Adviser, Individuals and Indirect Tax Division

Mr Mathew Brine, Division Head, Tax Analysis Division

Mr Matt Maloney, Principal Adviser, Tax Analysis Division

Mr Robert Ewing, Principal Adviser, Tax Analysis Division

Fiscal Group

Mr Michael Brennan, Deputy Secretary

Mr Matt Flavel, Division Head, Budget Policy Division

Mr Ian South, Principal Adviser, Budget Policy Division

Ms Jenny Wilkinson, Division Head, Retirement Income Policy Division

Mr Ian Beckett, Principal Adviser, Retirement Income Policy Division

Ms Vicki Wilkinson, Division Head, Social Policy Division

Mr Marty Robinson, Principal Adviser, Social Policy Division

Ms Joanne Evans, Principal Adviser, Social Policy Division

Mr Jonathan Rollings, Division Head, Commonwealth-State Relations Division

Dr Jim Hagan, Chief Adviser, Fiscal Group

Markets Group

Mr John Lonsdale, Deputy Secretary

Ms Diane Brown, Division Head, System Division

Mr James Kelly, Principal Adviser, Financial System Division

Ms Nghi Luu, Senior Adviser, Financial System Division

Mr Roger Brake, Division Head, Foreign Investment Division

Mr Adam McKissack, Principal Adviser, Foreign Investment Division

Mr Patrick Boneham, Division Head, Small Business and Consumer Division

Ms Emily Martin, Principal Adviser, Small Business and Consumer Division

Ms Kate Carnell AO, Ombudsman, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Dr Craig Latham, Deputy, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Ms Anne Scott, Principal Adviser, Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman

Structural Reform Group

Ms Meghan Quinn, Deputy Secretary

Mr Hamish McDonald, First Assistant Secretary

Mr Paul McCullough, First Assistant Secretary

Mr Damien Dunn, Assistant Secretary

Ms Kristy Baker, Assistant Secretary

Ms Lisa Elliston, Assistant Secretary

Australian Bureau of Statistics

Mr David W Kalisch, Australian Statistician

Ms Gillian Nicoll, Acting Deputy Australian Statistician, Transformation Group

Mr Jonathan Palmer, Deputy Australian Statistician, Enabling Services Group

Mr Bruce Hockman, General Manager, Macroeconomic Statistics Division

Mr Tom Joseph, Acting General Manager, Industry Statistics Division

Dr Paul Jelfs, General Manager, Population and Social Statistics Division

Mr Michael Smedes, Acting General Manager, Statistical Transformation and Implementation Division

Mr Michael Meagher, Acting General Manager, Statistical Infrastructure Development Division

Dr Siu-Ming Tam, Chief Methodologist and General Manager, Methodology Division

Ms Samantha Palmer, General Manager, People, Culture and Communication Division

Mr Duncan Young, Acting General Manager, Census and Statistical Network Services Division

Mr Lane Masterton, Program Manager, Technology Capability Branch

Ms Lily Viertmann, Chief Finance Officer and Chief Risk Officer, Finance, Risk and Planning Division

Mr Steve Hamilton, Chief Information Officer and General Manager, Technology and Security Division

Ms Celia Moss, Program Manager, Transitioning Statistics Branch

Ms Denise Carlton, Program Manager, Population Branch

Ms Jacqui Jones, Program Manager, Labour and Income Branch

Ms Lucy Jones, Assistant Director, Parliamentary and Partnerships

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Mr Rod Sims, Chairman

Ms Rayne de Gruchy, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Scott Gregson, Executive General Manager, Consumer Enforcement

Mr Marcus Bezzi, Executive General Manager, Competition Enforcement

Mr Rami Greiss, Executive General Manager, Merger and Authorisation Review Division

Mr Tim Grimwade, Executive General Manager, Consumer, Small Business and Product Safety Division

Mr Michael Cosgrave, Executive General Manager, Consumer, Infrastructure Regulation Division

Mr Richard Home, General Manager, Economic Group

Australian Energy Regulator

Mr Peter Adams, General Manager, Wholesale Markets

Mr Warwick Anderson, General Manager, Network Finance and Reporting

Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission

Ms Susan Pascoe AM, Commissioner

Mr David Locke, Assistant Commissioner, Charity Services

Mr Murray Baird, Assistant Commissioner, General Counsel

Australian Office of Financial Management

Mr Robert Nicholl, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Michael Bath, Head of Global Markets and Business Strategy

Mr Matthew Wheadon, Head of Portfolio Strategy and Research

Mr Bradley Parry, Head of Funding and Liquidity

Mr Andrew Johnson, Head of Reporting and IT

Mr Simon Potter, Finance Manager

Australian Prudential Regulation Authority

Mr Wayne Byres, Chairman

Mrs Helen Rowell, Deputy Chairman

Mr Geoff Summerhayes, APRA Member

Mr Pat Brennan, Executive General Manager, Policy and Advice Division

Mr Stephen Glenfield, General Manager South West Region, Specialised Institutions Division

Mr Peter Kohlhagen, Senior Manager Policy Development, Policy and Advice Division

Australian Securi ties and Investments Commission

Mr Greg Medcraft, Chairman

Mr Peter Kell, Deputy Chairman

Mr John Price, Commissioner

Ms Cathie Armour, Commissioner

Ms Louisa Macaulay, Senior Executive Leader

Mr Tim Mullaly, Senior Executive Leader

Mr Greg Kirk, Senior Executive Leader

Mr Warren Day, Senior Executive Leader

Mr Michael Saadat, Senior Executive Leader

Ms Sharon Concisom, Senior Executive Leader

Mr Gerard Fitzpatrick, Senior Executive Leader

Australian Taxation Office

Mr Chris Jordan, Commissioner of Taxation

Ms Alison Lendon, Acting Second Commissioner, Client Engagement Group

Ms Melinda Smith, Chief Service Delivery Officer, Service Delivery Group

Ms Jacqui Curtis, Chief Operating Officer, Corporate and Enabling Services Group

Mr Ramez Katf, Second Commissioner, Chief Information Officer, Enterprise Solutions and Technology

Mr Andrew Mills, Second Commissioner, Law Design and Practice Group

Mr James O'Halloran, Deputy Commissioner, Superannuation

Mr Mark Konza, Deputy Commissioner, International

Mr Jeremy Hirschhorn, Deputy Commissioner, Public Groups

Mr Timothy Dyce, Deputy Commissioner, Indirect Tax

Mr Robert Ravanello, Deputy Commissioner, Debt

Ms Frances Cawthra, Chief Finance Officer

Mr William Day, Acting Deputy Commissioner, Private Groups and High Wealth Individuals

Mr Bradley Chapman, Acting Deputy Commissioner, ATO People

Commonwealth Grants Commission

Mr Michael Willcock, Secretary

Mr Anthony Nichols, Assistant Secretary

Mr Phillip Parkins, Director, Corporate Services

Inspector-General of Taxation

Mr Ali Noroozi, Inspector-General of Taxation

Mr Andrew McLoughlin, Deputy Inspector-General of Taxation

Mr David Pengilley, General Manager

Productivity Commission

Ms Karen Chester, Deputy Chair

Ms Nina Davidson, Head of Office

Superannuation Complaints Tribunal

Ms Helen Davis, Chairperson

Committee met at 09:00

CHAIR ( Senator Hume ): I declare open this meeting of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee. The Senate has referred to the committee the particulars of proposed expenditure for 2017-18 and related documents for the Treasury and the Industry, Innovation and Science portfolios. The committee may also examine the annual reports of the departments and agencies appearing before it. The committee is due to report to the Senate on Tuesday, 20 June 2017 and has set Thursday, 8 June 2017 as the date by which senators are to submit written questions on notice. The committee has fixed Thursday, 27 July 2017 as the date for return of answers to questions taken on notice.

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 a copy of the rules. In particular, I draw the attention of witnesses to an order of the Senate of 13 May 2009, specifying the process by which a claim of public interest immunity should be raised.

The extract read as follows—

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.

(13 May 2009 J.1941)

(Extract, Senate Standing Orders)

Witnesses are specifically reminded that a statement that information or a document is confidential or consists of advice to government is not a statement that meets the requirements of the 2009 order. Instead, witnesses are required to provide some specific indication of the harm to public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or the document.

I would ask photographers and cameramen to follow the established media guidelines and the instructions of the committee secretariat. Please ensure that senators' and witnesses' laptops and personal papers are not filmed. I remind members of the public and everyone in the gallery that they are not permitted to speak or interfere with proceedings or with witnesses at any point during the hearing. Security is present and they will be asked to remove anyone who does not follow these instructions.

The committee will continue to hear from the Treasury portfolio with questions for the department's Revenue Group and the Australian Taxation Office. The hearing will then follow the order as set out in the circulated program.