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Tuesday, 15 June 2010
Page: 3390

Senator Ronaldson asked the Minister representing the Prime Minister, upon notice, on 21 December 2009:

With reference to the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen (COP15), can an itemised list be provided, for each departmental official and staff employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 on the Copenhagen trip, including the following details:

(a)   their name;

(b)   their Australian Public Service or MoPS classification level;

(c)   if flying by commercial airline, at what class did they fly to and from Copenhagen;

(d)   the total allowances paid for their overseas travel;

(e) (i)   the name of the hotel or other commercial establishment in which they stayed, and (ii) the cost of this accommodation; and

(f)   their primary duty or duties in Copenhagen.

Senator Chris Evans (Minister for Immigration and Citizenship) —The Prime Minister has provided the following answer to the honourable senator’s question:

(1) (a), (b) and (f) I understand that the Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water, Senator the Hon Penny Wong, will provide details about the Official Australian Delegation to COP15 in her response to House of Representatives Question on Notice 1308 asked by Mr Fletcher on 15 March 2010.

The Australian Government does not hold records about the role expected of members of state or territory governments or of non-Government Organisations in the Official Australian Delegation. Questions about those members of the Official Australian Delegation should be directed to the particular organisations.

Three staff members from the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet attended COP15. They were:

  • Mr Patrick Suckling, First Assistant Secretary (SES B2), International Division. Mr Suckling paid for his travel to London, flew to Copenhagen from London in business class and returned in the VIP Jet with the PM.
  • Ms Chelsey Martin, Senior Advisor (EL2), International Division. Ms Martin travelled in business class, and
  • Ms Rebecca Christie, Visit Coordinator (EL1), Ministerial Support Unit. Ms Christie travelled in business class.

Mr Suckling’s role was to provide advice to the Prime Minister on his international agenda and foreign policy, including in support of his meetings with other world leaders.

Ms Martin heads up the Global and Regional Architecture section. The section’s responsibilities include coordinating the Prime Minister’s international advocacy on the Government’s key foreign policy priorities. Ms Martin travelled to Copenhagen to provide support for the Prime Minister’s international advocacy relating to COP15.

Consistent with usual practice, Ms Christie travelled to Denmark in advance of the Prime Minister to work with the relevant agencies and Embassy/High Commission to coordinate logistical arrangements necessary to deliver an effective and efficient Prime Ministerial visit.

(1) (c), and(e) The total costs of relevant participants from the Federal Government are not available. Excluding travel by Special Purpose Aircraft, costs of official overseas travel by Ministers, Parliamentary Secretaries, accompanying spouses (where relevant) and accompanying staff employed under the Members of Parliament (Staff) Act 1984 are paid for by the Department of Finance and Deregulation (Finance).

Finance has advised that expenditure for this overseas visit has not yet been reconciled. Dates, destinations, the purpose and costs of all official overseas travel are tabled in the Parliament every six months in a report titled Parliamentarians’Travel paid by the Department of Finance and Deregulation. These reports are also published on the Finance web site.

(1) (d) and (f) As at 3 March 2010, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet had incurred the following costs:

  • Airfares $25,820.29
  • Accommodation $19,682.53
  • Meals $904.40
  • Transport $161.26, and
  • Miscellaneous $1,069.43

The PM&C delegates stayed at the Mdison Blu Royal Hotel and the Imperial Hotel. Details about the accommodation arrangements for delegates from other agencies should be sought from those agencies.

Other matters in this question have been addressed in response to Senate Question on Notice 2501 asked by Senator Abetz on 21 December 2009.