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Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee
26/05/2015
Estimates
IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION PORTFOLIO

IMMIGRATION AND BORDER PROTECTION PORTFOLIO

In Attendance

Senator Cash, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women and Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection

Senator Ronaldson, Minister for Veterans' Affairs and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Centenary of ANZAC and Special Minister of State

Executive

Mr. Michael Pezzullo, Secretary, Department of Immigration and Border Protection

Mr. Roman Quaedvlieg APM, Chief Executive Officer, Australian Customs and Border Protection

Mr. Michael Manthorpe PSM, Deputy Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management

Ms. Rachel Noble, Deputy Secretary, Policy Group

Mr. Peter Vardos PSM, Deputy Secretary, Client Services Decision Support Review

Mr. Michael Outram, Deputy Secretary, Border Operations

Mrs. Marion Grant PSM, Deputy Secretary, Corporate Chief Operating Officer

Ms. Cindy Briscoe, Deputy Secretary, Immigration Status Resolution Group

Ms Maria Fernandez, Deputy Secretary, Intelligence and Capability

Ms Miriam Judith Moore, Assistant Secretary, Litigation Branch

Major General Andrew Bottrell, Commander, Joint Agency Task Force

Mr Rhys Jones, Deputy Registrar, Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal

Ms Kay Ransome, Principal Member at Migration Review and Refugee Review Committee

Corporate

Mrs. Marion Grant PSM, Deputy Secretary, Corporate Chief Operating Officer

Ms Maree Bridger, First Assistant Secretary, Executive Division/Australian Border Force Change Management Task Force

Ms. Charlotte Tressler, First Assistant Secretary, Strategic Reform Office

Mr. Craig Farrell, First Assistant Secretary, Support Division

Ms. Paula Goodwin, Acting First Assistant Secretary, People Division

Mr. Steven Groves, Chief Financial Officer

Ms. Pip De Veau, General Counsel

Ms .Maria Fernandez, Deputy Secretary, Intelligence and Capability

Ms. Jan Dorrington PSM, First Assistant Secretary, Integrity, Risk and Assurance Division

Ms. Karen Harfield, First Assistant Secretary, Intelligence Division

Mr. Matthew Yannopoulos, Chief Information Officer, ICT Division

Mr. Randall Brugeaud, First Assistant Secretary, Major Capability Division

Mr. Gavin McCairns, First Assistant Secretary, Research and Innovation Division

Mr. Phil Thurbon, First Assistant Secretary, Digital Channels Task Force

Outcome 1: Protect Australia ' s sovereignty, security and safety by managing its border, including through managing the stay and departure of all non-citizens.

Program 1.1: Border Enforcement.

Mr. Michael Outram, Deputy Secretary, Border Operations

Rear Admiral Michael Noonan RAN, Commander, Border Protection Command

Mr. Steve Lancaster, Assistant Commissioner, Investigations

Mr. Kingsley Woodford-Smith, National Director, Border Management

Mr. Peter Docwra, First Assistant Secretary, Border Force Capability Division

Mr. Terry Price PSM, Acting Commander, Strategic Border Command

Major General Andrew Bottrell, Commander, Joint Agency Task Force

Program 1.2: Border Management

Mr. Michael Outram, Deputy Secretary, Border Operations

Rear Admiral Michael Noonan RAN, Commander, Border Protection Command

Mr. Steve Lancaster, Assistant Commissioner, Investigations

Mr. Kingsley Woodford-Smith, National Director, Border Management

Mr. Peter Docwra, First Assistant Secretary, Border Force Capability Division

Mr. Terry Price PSM, Acting Commander, Strategic Border Command

Program 1.3: Compliance and Detention

Ms. Cindy Briscoe, Deputy Secretary, Immigration Status Resolution Group

Ms Janet Mackin, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Status Resolution and Detention Operations

Mr. Paul Windsor, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Infrastructure and Services

Ms. Robyn Miller, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Community and Settlement Services

Mr. Terry Price PSM, Acting Commander, Strategic Border Command

Mr Craig Sommerville, Deputy Commander, Detention and Compliance

Program 1.4: IMA Onshore Management

Ms. Cindy Briscoe, Deputy Secretary, Immigration Status Resolution Group

Ms Janet Mackin, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Status Resolution and Detention Operations

Ms. Robyn Miller, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Community and Settlement Services

Mr. Terry Price PSM, Acting Commander, Strategic Border Command

Mr. Stephen Allen, First Assistant Secretary, Community Protection

Prog ram 1.5: IMA Offshore Management

Ms. Cindy Briscoe, Deputy Secretary, Immigration Status Resolution Group

Ms Janet Mackin, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Status Resolution and Detention Operations

Ms. Robyn Miller, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Community and Settlement Services

Mr. Terry Price PSM, Acting Commander, Strategic Border Command

Ms Kylie Scholten, Acting Assistant Secretary, Offshore Operations

Program 1.6: Regional Cooperation

Ms. Rachel Noble, Deputy Secretary, Policy Group

Mr. Lachlan Colquhoun, First Assistant Secretary, International Division

Mr. Robert Hoitink, First Assistant Secretary, International Protection Task Force

Outcome 2: Support a prosperous and inclusive society, and advance Australia ' s economic interests through the effective management of the visa and citizenship programmes and provision of refugee and humanitarian assistance.

Program 2.1: Citizenship

Mr. Michael Manthorpe PSM, Deputy Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management

Mr. Jim Williams, First Assistant Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management

Mr. Kruno Kukoc, First Assistant Secretary, Refugee and Humanitarian Visa Management

Ms. Rachel Noble, Deputy Secretary, Policy Group

Mr. David Wilden, First Assistant Secretary, Immigration and Citizenship Policy

Program 2.2: Migration

Mr. Michael Manthorpe PSM, Deputy Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management

Mr. Jim Williams, First Assistant Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management

Mr. Kruno Kukoc, First Assistant Secretary, Refugee and Humanitarian Visa Management

Dora Chin-Tan, Acting Chief Executive Officer, Office of the Mara

Ms. Rachel Noble, Deputy Secretary, Policy Group

Mr. David Wilden, First Assistant Secretary, Immigration and Citizenship Policy

Program 2.3: Visas

Mr. Michael Manthorpe PSM, Deputy Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management

Mr. Jim Williams, First Assistant Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management

Mr. Kruno Kukoc, First Assistant Secretary, Refugee and Humanitarian Visa Management

Ms. Rachel Noble, Deputy Secretary, Policy Group

Mr. David Wilden, First Assistant Secretary, Immigration and Citizenship Policy

Program 2.4: Refugees and Humanitarian Assistance

Mr. Michael Manthorpe PSM, Deputy Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management

Mr. Jim Williams, First Assistant Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management

Mr. Kruno Kukoc, First Assistant Secretary, Refugee and Humanitarian Visa Management

Ms. Rachel Noble, Deputy Secretary, Policy Group

Mr. David Wilden, First Assistant Secretary, Immigration and Citizenship Policy

Outcome 3: Advance Australia ' s economic interests through the facilitation of the trade of goods to and from Australia and the collection of border revenue.

Program 3.1: Border-Revenue Collection

Ms. Rachel Noble, Deputy Secretary, Policy Group

Ms. Linda Geddes, First Assistant Secretary, Trade, Customs and Industry Policy Division

Mr. Kingsley Woodford-Smith, National Director, Border Management

Program 3.2: Trade Facilitation and Industry Engagement

Ms. Rachel Noble, Deputy Secretary, Policy Group

Ms. Linda Geddes, First Assistant Secretary, Trade, Customs and Industry Policy Division

Mr. Kingsley Woodford-Smith, National Director, Border Management

Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal

Ms Kay Ransome, Principal Member at Migration Review and Refugee Review Committee

Mr Colin Plowman, Register, Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal

Committee met at 09:01

CHAIR ( Senator Ian Macdonald ): I welcome everyone to this public hearing of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee dealing with the budget estimates for 2015-16. The Senate has referred to the committee particulars of the proposed expenditure for the portfolio of Attorney-General and Immigration and Border Protection and other related documents. The committee may also examine annual reports. These are budget estimates proceedings and today we are looking at the Department of Immigration and Border Protection. We have set Friday, 10 July as the date by which answers to questions on notice are to be returned. We also decree that written questions on notice should be provided to be the committee secretary by 6 June.

All evidence is taken in public session and that includes answers to questions on notice. Witnesses are aware that they are protected by parliamentary privilege and that it is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of the evidence given. Officers and senators will be familiar with the rules of the Senate governing the estimates hearings but if you need assistance the secretariat can help.

The Senate has resolved that any question going to the operations or financial positions of the departments or agencies which are seeking funds to the estimates are irrelevant questions for the purpose of estimates. I think everyone is aware of that. There are no areas in connection with the expenditure of public funds where any person has a discretion to withhold details or explanations from the parliament or its committees unless the parliament has expressly provided otherwise. Officers are not asked to give opinions on matters of policy and have reasonable opportunity to refer questions asked to an officer or superior officers. This resolution of the Senate only refers to questions asking for matters of opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude asking for explanations of policies or factual questions about when and how the policy is were adopted.

If a claim of public interest immunity is raised a simple statement that they are claiming it is not sufficient. Witnesses are required to provide some specific indication of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or the document. I draw the attention of witnesses to an order of the Senate of 13 May 2009, specifying the process by which a claim of public interest immunity can be raised.

The extract read as follows—

Public interest immunity claims

That the Senate—

(a) notes that ministers and officers have continued to refuse to provide information to Senate committees without properly raising claims of public interest immunity as required by past resolutions of the Senate;

(b) reaffirms the principles of past resolutions of the Senate by this order, to provide ministers and officers with guidance as to the proper process for raising public interest immunity claims and to consolidate those past resolutions of the Senate;

(c) orders that the following operate as an order of continuing effect:

(1) If:

   (a) a Senate committee, or a senator in the course of proceedings of a committee, requests information or a document from a Commonwealth department or agency; and

   (b) an officer of the department or agency to whom the request is directed believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the officer shall state to the committee the ground on which the officer believes that it may not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, and specify the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(2) If, after receiving the officer’s statement under paragraph (1), the committee or the senator requests the officer to refer the question of the disclosure of the information or document to a responsible minister, the officer shall refer that question to the minister.

(3) If a minister, on a reference by an officer under paragraph (2), concludes that it would not be in the public interest to disclose the information or document to the committee, the minister shall provide to the committee a statement of the ground for that conclusion, specifying the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document.

(4) A minister, in a statement under paragraph (3), shall indicate whether the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee could result only from the publication of the information or document by the committee, or could result, equally or in part, from the disclosure of the information or document to the committee as in camera evidence.

(5) If, after considering a statement by a minister provided under paragraph (3), the committee concludes that the statement does not sufficiently justify the withholding of the information or document from the committee, the committee shall report the matter to the Senate.

(6) A decision by a committee not to report a matter to the Senate under paragraph (5) does not prevent a senator from raising the matter in the Senate in accordance with other procedures of the Senate.

(7) A statement that information or a document is not published, or is confidential, or consists of advice to, or internal deliberations of, government, in the absence of specification of the harm to the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or document, is not a statement that meets the requirements of paragraph (1) or (4).

(8) If a minister concludes that a statement under paragraph (3) should more appropriately be made by the head of an agency, by reason of the independence of that agency from ministerial direction or control, the minister shall inform the committee of that conclusion and the reason for that conclusion, and shall refer the matter to the head of the agency, who shall then be required to provide a statement in accordance with paragraph (3).

(Extract, Senate Standing Orders, pp 124-125)

I welcome the minister, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash, and the secretary and his team. Minister, do you or anyone else wish to make an opening statement before we start?