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Notice given 16 December 2008

*1169†  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—In what way does the Australian Government support a United Nations intervention, including a military intervention, to alleviate human misery and suffering in: (a) Zimbabwe; and (b) the Congo.

*1170  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Prime Minister—Has the Government definitively ruled out the presence of cane toads on Australian Defence Force bases in East Timor; if not, why not.

*1171  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—With reference to interactions between the representatives of tobacco companies and the Rudd Government: Have any ministers or ministerial staff met with representatives of tobacco companies; if so: (a) which ministers or the staff of which ministers have taken part in such meetings; (b) what was the purpose of the meetings; and (c) on what dates did these meetings take place.

 

 *1172  Senator Siewert: To ask the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research—

(1) Is the Minister aware that Amway, Mary Kay and Mannatech currently have Australian patent applications pending for processes to extract vitamin C from the Gubinge tree (also known as Billy Goat Plum and Kakadu Plum) that occurs across tropical Australia and has the highest concentration of vitamin C of any fruit on the planet.

(2) Is the Minister aware that if these patents are successful then the current development plans for this plant for commercialisation by Indigenous communities will be stopped.

(3) What steps are being taken to provide legal recognition of traditional knowledge for the purpose of giving Indigenous people the capacity to participate in the economic development of Australia, thereby generating income and wealth for them which will be independent of Government.

*1173  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—

(1) Are there any restrictions or conditions on who is responsible for spending the Indigenous component of the funding for the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area (TWWHA).

(2) Does the Federal Government monitor the Tasmanian State Government’s expenditure of the Indigenous component of the funding.

(3) What measures are in place to ensure local Aboriginal groups are involved in the expenditure of the Indigenous component of funding for the TWWHA.

(4) What recourse do local Aboriginal groups have if they feel the Tasmanian Government is misusing funding earmarked for the Indigenous components of the TWWHA.

*1174  Senator Bob Brown: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts—With reference to the desalination plant proposed for the Victorian coastline near Wonthaggi:

(1) Does the Victorian Environment Effects Statement (EES) for the desalination plant adequately account for the effects on endangered marine animals, such as whales and Great White Sharks, that live or pass through the area; if so, what are the measures that will be put in place to protect these animals.

(2) Has the department received a response to its letter dated 9 October 2008 to the Victorian Department of Planning and Community Development regarding its concerns with the EES; if so, what was the response; if not, when is a response expected.

(3) On the department’s website there is a fact sheet about whales and noise dated 2 May 2008 that states the department is ‘currently reviewing the guidelines aimed at avoiding or minimising impacts from seismic activity on whales’: has this review finished; if so, what were its findings; if not, will the Minister delay considering approval for the desalination plant until the review is finished.

 

 *1175†  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Resources and Energy—With reference to the answer to question on notice no. 737 (Senate Hansard , 13 October 2008, p. 5870), in which the Minister stated that, ‘in 1999 Australia and France exchanged letters pursuant to the 1981 Agreement between the Government of Australia and the Government of the French Republic concerning Nuclear Transfers between Australia and France . In these letters, Australia stated that it will accept the return of spent research reactor fuel reprocessing wastes and committed to taking “all reasonable steps to facilitate their return, within the framework of relevant regulatory requirements, as soon as such return is technically possible”, and assured France that it “does not intend to take or support any legislative or regulatory initiative or other action which would prevent or hinder execution of the [ANSTO-COGEMA] contract relating to the return” of wastes to Australia’:

(1) Can a copy of the letter be provided; if not, can the Minister confirm the dates of these letters and who signed on behalf of Australia.

(2) Can the Minister confirm the legal status of these non-public, voluntary letters of commitment.

(3) Can the Minister confirm whether these letters effectively replace the contractual requirements as stipulated in the Contract for the Management of ANSTO’s [Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Oganisation’s] Research Reactors Spent Fuel, between ANSTO and the French company Compagnie Generale des Matieres Nucleaires (COGEMA) for reprocessing the spent nuclear fuel from Lucas Heights.

(4) (a) Can details be provided of the return arrangements for Australian waste which is to be returned to Australia from the reprocessing of spent research reactor fuel in the United Kingdom (UK); (b) what is the date by which such waste is to be returned to Australia; and (c) what is the quantity of waste returning from the UK.

*1176  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for Defence on 19 December 2008 )—

(1) What environmental impact studies have been conducted in relation to the planned Exercise Talisman Sabre 2009, which will involve the movement of tens of thousands of troops, with associated tanks and other military hardware, on the fragile ecosystems of the Shoalwater Bay Military Training Area in Central Queensland.

(2) Has the possible impact from Exercise Talisman Sabre 2009 on the Great Barrier Reef been assessed.

(3) (a) Will Exercise Talisman Sabre 2009 be compliant with the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 , and compatible with the Commonwealth Heritage listing of Shoalwater Bay, both of which the Minister cited in his recent rejection of the rail line and coal port proposal due to the area’s unique biodiversity values; and (b) in particular, how will local fauna be protected from the effects of live firing exercises.

(4) What impact will the 2009 exercise have on the Shoalwater Bay Ramsar wetlands.

(5) Will the Government give a guarantee that no depleted uranium image (DU) weapons will be used by forces of either the United States of America or Australia during the 2009 exercises.

 

 (6) Has any DU been used in any previous Exercise Talisman Sabre.

(7) (a) What military chemicals does the Government anticipate will be left in the land and marine environments as a result of the 2009 exercise; and (b) what are the human health impacts of these chemicals.

(8) Will nuclear-powered and/or nuclear weapons-capable vessels take part in the planned 2009 exercise; if so: (a) what preparations have been made for the event of a nuclear accident on one of these vessels; and (b) which government would bear the enormous financial cost of a clean-up in the event of such an accident.

(9) Has the economic impact of such an accident on tourism been considered in the decision to conduct the 2009 exercise at Shoalwater Bay.

*1177  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Defence—Given the answer to a question placed on notice (Q3: Rendition of Mamdouh Habib) by former Senator Nettle during the 2008-09 Budget estimates hearing of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee, on 4 June 2008, was that, ‘Defence has no record of involvement through meetings or through the provision of advice in the matter of the rendition of Mr Mamdouh Habib’:

(1) How do 85 418 pages of Defence departmental documents fall within the terms of a Freedom of Information request for any reports from 1 October 2001 onwards from Defence or any of its agencies regarding the transfer and/or rendition of Mamdouh Habib to Egypt, with an associated cost of $107 145.55 including 1 038 hours to identify, examine and make decisions on the documents.

(2) How do 82 838 pages of Defence departmental documents fall within the terms of a Freedom of Information request for communications regarding the rendition and/or transfer of prisoners or detainees by the United States of America to other countries (particularly Egypt) for interrogation or questioning, with an associated cost of $85 603.80.

(3) How is such a massive volume of documentation consistent with Defence’s contention in estimates hearings that there are no records relevant to this matter.

Senator Abetz: To ask the Ministers listed below (Question Nos *1178-*1180)—

(1) What is the total size of the Government’s vehicle fleet, including executive-level vehicles, ministerial vehicles etc.

(2) (a) How many, both as a number and a percentage, of these vehicles are not Australian-made; and (b) for each imported model: (i) what is the make, and (ii) what is the number of that model currently held.

*1178 Minister representing the Prime Minister ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for Finance and Deregulation on 19 December 2008 )

*1179 Minister representing the Treasurer ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for Finance and Deregulation on 18 December 2008 )

*1180 Minister representing the Minister for Finance and Deregulation

*1181  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government—With reference to the Government’s website www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au:

(1) Does the Minister endorse this website.

 

 (2) Are either the Minister, his office and/or the department aware that this website is used by the Queensland and Tasmanian state governments as a reference for their vehicle fleet procurement policies; if so, when did they become aware of this fact.

(3) Was either the Minister, his office and/or the department consulted about this website being used as a reference in the aforementioned procurement policies.

(4) Does the Minister support the use of this website in the procurement policies of the Queensland or Tasmanian state governments.

(5) Has either the Minister, his office, and/or the department had any discussions with the Queensland and Tasmanian state governments about their use of the website in their procurement policies.

(6) Will Ford’s new Euro IV compliant engine, to be built in Geelong, Victoria, score 5.5 or better on this website.

*1182  Senator Abetz: To ask the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research—With reference to the Government’s website www.greenvehicleguide.gov.au:

(1) Does the Minister endorse this website.

(2) When did the Minister, his office and/or the department become aware that this website is used by the Queensland and Tasmanian state governments as a reference for their vehicle fleet procurement policies.

(3) Was either the Minister, his office and/or the department consulted about this website being used as a reference in the aforementioned procurement policies.

(4) Does the Minister support the use of this website in the procurement policies of the Queensland or Tasmanian state governments.

(5) Will Ford’s new Euro IV compliant engine, to be built in Geelong, Victoria, score 5.5 or better on this website.

(6) What involvement does the department have in maintaining this website.

(7) Does the Minister agree that the Queensland and Tasmanian vehicle procurement policies are inherently biased against Australian-made cars.

(8) How is the use of the website by the Queensland and Tasmanian state governments consistent with the Federal Government’s own guidelines that cars for their fleet should be primarily Australian-built.

(9) Has either the Minister, his office and/or the department had any discussions with the Queensland and Tasmanian state governments about their vehicle procurement policies; if so: (a) was the use of the website in their procurement policies discussed; and (b) can details of these discussions be provided.

(10) Has either the Minister, his office, and/or the department had any discussions with the governments of the Australian Capital Territory, Western Australia and New South Wales about their vehicle procurement policies; if so, can details of these discussions be provided.