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Monday, 23 November 2009
Page: 8657


Senator Ronaldson asked the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade, upon notice, on 10 September 2009:

For the 2008-09 financial year:

(1)   Did the Minister have any ministerial letterhead produced using the funds or resources of his or her home department; if so: (a) how many sheets of letterhead were produced; and (b) what was the cost of the production of the letterhead.

(2)   What was the total postage cost of mailings conducted by the Minister and/or Parliamentary Secretary using their departmental-funded franking machine.

(3) (a)   What was the total cost, including production and distribution, of all direct mail pieces produced by the department, including as part of a government communications campaign, where the Minister or Prime Minister was the nominal author of the piece; and (b) can an itemised list be provided of: (i) production costs, and (ii) distribution costs.


Senator Faulkner (Minister for Defence) —The Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade have provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1)   The number of sheets of portfolio ministerial letterhead produced at departmental cost by the department’s contract printer during the 2008-09 financial year and the costs of production to the department are set out in the following table:

Sheets produced

Cost of production

Minister for Foreign Affairs

10,500

$2,666.58

Minister for Trade

12,000

$2,854.09

..

(2)   Franking machines funded by the department for use by Portfolio Ministers and Parliamentary Secretaries operate on a credit system.  An advance is paid and the credit is downloaded onto the franking machine and used as required.  Total cost of credit funded by the department for the 2008-09 financial year is set out in the following table:

..

Cost of credit

Minister for Foreign Affairs

nil

Minister for Trade

$1,210.72

Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance

nil

Parliamentary Secretary for Pacific Island Affairs

nil

Parliamentary Secretary for Trade  (Mr Byrne)

nil

Parliamentary Secretary for Trade (Mr Murphy)

nil

..

(3)   The department regularly prepares correspondence for Portfolio Ministers’ signature on a range of issues within its portfolio responsibilities.         This includes responses to ministerial correspondence from members of the Australian public and other correspondents.  This also includes correspondence which is initiated by Ministers or the department for the particular purpose of protecting, advocating and advancing the interests of Australia and Australians internationally, and much of which is for addressees in other countries.         The department reports on the total number of responses to ministerial correspondence from members of the Australian public and other correspondents, which it prepares for Portfolio Ministers’ signature.  In the 2008-09 financial year, the department prepared 1,655 responses for Mr Smith’s signature and 522 responses for Mr Crean’s signature.         The department does not report on the total number of items of correspondence which it prepares for Portfolio Ministers’ signature and which have been initiated by Ministers or the department.  To collect this information for the purpose of answering this question would be a major task and I am not prepared to authorise the expenditure and effort that would be required.         Furthermore, the department does not report separately in its financial management information system on the production and distribution costs of all correspondence which it prepares for Portfolio Ministers’ signature.  To collect this information for the purpose of answering this question would be a major task and I am not prepared to authorise the expenditure and effort that would be required.