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Notice given 11 May 2007

3198  Senator Stott Despoja: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship—

(1) (a) On what basis would persons applying for a visa to enter Australia receive a warning from the department that their conduct and character may prevent them from being granted a visa in the future; and (b) is an individual ever given the opportunity to challenge the accuracy of the information which forms the basis of an immigration official’s decision to warn a person.

(2) For each year since 1996: (a) how many people were denied a visa; and (b) how many of these determinations were based on a person: (i) having a past criminal conviction, and (ii) having been charged but not convicted of a crime.

(3) (a) In relation to character grounds, other than criminal convictions, on what grounds will a decision be made to refuse a visa; and (b) what steps, if any, do immigration officials take to verify the information.

(4) For each year since 1996, how many times has the Minister or the previous Minister exercised his or her discretion pursuant to section 499 of the Migration Act 1958 to permit the entry of people into Australia.

(5) For each year since 1996, how many people have exercised their appeal rights to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal in relation to decisions to refuse entry on the basis of character grounds.

3199  Senator Stott Despoja: To ask the Minister for Human Services—With reference to the article, ‘Banks join forces to beat e-fraud’, in the Australian Financial Review of 24 April 2004, in which it was reported that Westpac’s plan to build a national registry of electronic keys to validate public key infrastructure (PKI) technology was on hold, in part due to uncertainty about whether the Federal Government’s welfare smartcard will use PKI technology:

(1) Will the access card proposal use PKI technology; if not, why not.

(2) If PKI technology is not being used to secure personal information within the access card system, what alternative security arrangements, if any, is the Minister proposing.

3201  Senator Milne: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Transport and Regional Services—With reference to the upgrade of the southern Tasmanian Esperance Coast Road, funded under Auslink’s Strategic Regional Programme:

(1) When an AusLink grant is awarded to a local council, what are the requirements of the Government in regard to that council having followed due process in approving the grant application if a substantial financial commitment by that council is required over the following 2 financial years.

(2) What are the processes by which AusLink ensures that a local council follows due process in applying for an AusLink grant and its administration after funding is provided.

(3) How does AusLink ensure that a local council has followed due process in allocating funding for the financial year in which it commences work on a project, if that financial year started before the grant was awarded and the funding was therefore not included in the budget for that year.


 (4) What are AusLink’s requirements for a local council, which has been awarded a large AusLink grant, to follow due process in obtaining planning permits for any boundary adjustments required for completion of the project.

(5) How does the Government protect itself against the possibility that a local council does not follow due process in financial and/or planning aspects of carrying out the works.

(6) In carrying out works for which a large AusLink grant has been awarded, what are the requirements that a local council complies with state planning regulations, such as the State Coastal Policy.

(7) (a) What is the involvement of the Government in individual projects; and (b) what is the Government’s knowledge about the progress of work on such projects before the necessary planning process has been completed, and/or before contracts have been signed.

(8) (a) Is the Minister aware that a public meeting attended by 250 people was held in Dover on 8 May 2007 in relation to works to be carried out in conjunction with AusLink funding; and (b) was a representative of AusLink present at that meeting.

3202  Senator Webber: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Revenue and Assistant Treasurer—

(1) With reference to answers to questions taken on notice in 2006 during the Economics Legislation Committee’s Budget estimates in response to Senator Webber’s question regarding any deficiencies in the Trade Practices Act 1974 arising out of the case of Auto Masters Australia Pty Ltd v Bruness Pty Ltd and to answers from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) indicating that the matter outlined the complexity of the legal principles involved, did the ACCC make any recommendations to the department as a result of the complexity of the legal principles that were exposed by the application of the Act in this instance.

(2) (a) Can the Minister explain why there have been discrepancies in answers provided to Senator Webber in previous estimates hearings regarding the numbers of unconscionable conduct complaints received by the ACCC; and (b) can the correct number of complaints received for each year since 2000 now be provided.

(3) With reference to written correspondence from the ACCC to Mr David Coombes, dated 18 December 1998, advising that Auto Masters had withdrawn any threats of breaches or the termination of his franchise: (a) can the ACCC confirm that Mr Coombes again approached the ACCC after Auto Masters issued a breach notice on 24 December 1998; if so, what action did the ACCC take in relation to that matter; and (b) why did the ACCC not secure court enforceable undertakings in accordance with procedures, when Auto Masters breached the understanding with the ACCC.

(4) Can the ACCC confirm that Mr Coombes again approached the ACCC in March 1999 seeking further clarification of the Act and support when Auto Masters refused to participate in mandatory mediation; if so, what action did the ACCC take in relation to this matter.


 (5) With reference to written correspondence from the Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, Senator Ian Campbell, to Mr Coombes dated 17 October 2002 advising that the ACCC had written to Auto Masters on 1 June 2002 but was unable to find evidence of any breaches of the Act in its responses, did the ACCC seek legal advice before approaching Auto Masters during the trial; if so, can a copy of that advice be provided.

(6) In response to the finding by the Supreme Court of Western Australia on 4 December 2002, that the conduct of Auto Masters was serious, unfair and oppressive and showing no regard for conscience in breach of the Act, will the ACCC confirm that had it secured undertakings from Auto Masters following the issuing of the breach notice on 24 December 1998, Auto Masters would have been inclined to cease their unconscionable conduct.