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Tuesday, 3 February 2009
Page: 151

Senator Minchin asked the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing, upon notice, on 25 August 2008:

(1)   Did the Minister or Parliamentary Secretary within the Minister’s portfolio attend any event at the Beijing Olympic Games; if so, which events did the Minister/Parliamentary Secretary attend?

(2)   Was the Minister/Parliamentary Secretary accompanied by: (a) family; (b) personal staff; and (c) departmental officials; if so how many?

(3)   Did any officials from the department attend the Beijing Olympic Games in their capacity as an employee of the Australian Government; if so, how many and in what capacity did they attend

(4)   In regard to the attendance by the Minister/Parliamentary Secretary and/or departmental officials at the Beijing Olympic Games, what was the total cost of: (a) travel; (b) accommodation; and (c) any other expenses?

Senator Ludwig (Minister for Human Services) —The Minister for Health and Ageing has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   Yes. The Hon Kate Ellis MP, Minister for Sport, attended the following events at the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, Beijing, People’s Republic of China:

  • The Opening Ceremony of the Games of the XXIX Olympiad
  • A wide range of sporting events involving Australian athletes including:

   swimming, shooting and basketball on 10 August;

   beach volleyball, archery, tennis and basketball on 11 August;

   swimming, diving, canoeing, kayaking and tennis on 12 August;

   gymnastics, water polo and football (Tianjin) on 13 August;

   softball, water polo, table tennis and hockey on 14 August;

   swimming, cycling and athletics on 15 August;

   sailing events in Qingdao on 16 August;

   swimming and rowing on 17 August.

  • Chaired and co-hosted the 4th Commonwealth Sports Ministers’ Meeting (CSMM) on 9 August at the Hilton Beijing Hotel. The meeting was attended by 34 Sports Ministers and over 70 officials from the Commonwealth countries and territories.
  • Austrade’s Business Club Australia Program including:

   Beijing 2008 VIP Opening Ceremony function;

   The Australian Sports and Events Industry function; and

   The Australian Sporting Infrastructure Capability Reception with the London 2012 team.

  • Bilateral meetings with:

   His Excellency Mr Kamalesh Sharma, Commonwealth Secretary General;

   The Hon Gerry Sutcliffe MP, UK Minister for Sport;

   The Hon Clayton Cosgrove MP, then New Zealand Minister for Sport and Recreation;

   Ms Sue Campbell, Chair, Commonwealth Advisory Body on Sport (CABOS); and

   Ms Chen Zhili, Mayor of Olympic and Paralympic Village, National Paralympic Committee Vice Chair for the People’s Republic of China.

  • Dinner with Australian sports officials hosted by His Excellency Dr Geoff Raby, Australian Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.
  • An informal gathering of the World Anti-Doping Agency Foundation Board Members.
  • Australian Olympic Team events including:

   The Official Welcome Ceremony to the Olympic Village; and

   The 2008 Australian Olympic Team Reception.

  • Visit to the Olympic Village and tour of the Australian section of the village.
  • Tour of the Main Olympic Press Centre.
  • Qingdao sailing events including:

   Tour of Qingdao Sailing Competition Centre;

   Meeting with Australian Athletes; and

   Dinner hosted by Yachting Australia with Australian athletes.

The financial information provided above for Ministerial and accompanying MOP(S) Act staff (Adviser) travel expenses was provided by the Department of Finance and Deregulation (DFD) [with the exception of $7.910.44 and $7,649.52 paid by DHA for airfares for Minister Ellis and her Adviser respectively, to attend the Olympics, and to be reimbursed by DFD under MOPS arrangements]. This advice is accurate as at 29 October 2008. DFD has advised that some trips remain unreconciled given that the travel was undertaken recently. This means that DFD may not have received all accounts and information from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Overseas Posts, and may not have acquitted the travel allowances paid.

DFD has advised that as further expenditure is paid they do not intend to revisit or update the information provided given the diversion of resources required to undertake this task.

* DFD is unable to disaggregate accommodation costs between the Minister and her Adviser. Therefore the figure provided for accommodation represents approximately half of the total accommodation costs charged to the Minister and her Adviser allowing for differences in room standards.

# Accommodation for departmental officials was arranged by DFAT.