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Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee
16/02/2012
Estimates
FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PORTFOLIO

FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PORTFOLIO

In Attendance

Senator Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Mr Dennis Richardson, Departmental Secretary

Mr Bruce G osper, Deputy Secretary Trade

Mr Chris Moraitis, First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Management Division

Ms Ann Thorpe, Chief Finance Officer

Mr Richard Rowe, Senior Legal Advisor

Mr Bryce Hutchesson, Assistant Secretary, Executive Planning and Evaluation Branch

Outcome 1— The advancement of Australia's international strategic, security and economic interests including through bilateral, regional and multila teral engagement on Australian g overnment foreign and trade policy priorities

Program 1.1 Foreign Affairs and Trade Operations

North Asia

Mr Peter Rowe, First Assistant Secretary, North Asia Division

South-East Asia

Mr Rod Smith, First Assistant Secretary, South-East Asia Division

Americas

Mr Justin Brown, First Assistant Secretary, Americas and Africa Division

Ms Elizabeth Schick, Assistant Secretary, United States Branch

Mr John Richardson, Assistant Secretary, Canada and Latin America Branch

Africa

Mr Justin Brown, First Assistant Secretary, Americas and Africa Division

Mr Dave Sharma, Assistant Secretary, Africa Branch

Europe

Mr Jeremy Newman, First Assistant Secretary, Europe Division

Mr Paul Myler, Assistant Secretary, Northern, Southern and Eastern Europe Branch

Mr Peter Doyle, Assistant Secretary, EU and Western Europe Branch

S outh and West Asia, Middle East

Ms Lynette Wood, Acting First Assistant Secretary, South and West Asia and Middle East Division

Mr John Merrill, Assistant Secretary, Pakistan and Afghanistan Branch

Mr Mark Pierce, Assistant Secretary, South and Central Asia Branch

Pacific

Ms Jennifer Rawson, First Assistant Secretary, Pacific Division

International organizatio ns and legal issues

Mr Chris Cannan, Acting First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations and Legal Division

Mr James Larsen, Ambassador for People Smuggling

Mr Richard Rowe, Senior Legal Adviser

Ms Caroline Millar, Head, United Nations Security Council Task Force

Mr Dominic Trindade, Assistant Secretary, Domestic Legal Branch

Dr Greg French, Assistant Secret ary, International Legal Branch

National security, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation

Dr Robert Floyd, ASNO Director-General

Mr Allan McKinnon, First Assistant Secretary, International Security Division

Mr Bill Paterson, Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism

Services to other agencies

Mr Chris Moraitis, First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Management Division

Mr Peter Davin, Executive Director, Overseas Property Office and Services

Services to diplomatic/consular representatives

Mr Patrick Suckling, First Assistant Secretary, Consular, Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division

Ms Sally Mansfield, Chief of Protocol

Mr Mark Donovan, Protection Pri vileges and Immunities Section

Program 1.2 Payments to International Organisations

Mr Chris Cannan, Acting First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations and Legal Division

Program 1.3 Public Information Services and Public Diplomacy

Mr Patrick Suckling, First Assistant Secretary, Consular, Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division

Outcome 2— The protection and welfare of Australian abroad and access to secure international travel documentation through timely and responsive travel advice and consular and passport services in Australia and overseas

Program 2.1 Con sular Services

Mr Patrick Suckling, First Assistant Secretary, Consular, Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division

Program 2.2 Passport Services

Ms Penny Williams, Executive Director

Outcome 3— A secure Australian Government presence overseas through the provision of security services and information and communications technology infrastructure, and the management of the Commonwealth's overseas owned estate

Program 3.1 Foreign Affairs and Trade Operations

Mr Tuan Dao, Chief Information Officer

Program 3.2 Overseas Property

Mr Peter Davin, Executive Director, Overseas Property Office and Services

Trade Portfolio

Australian Trade Commission —Austrade

Outcome 1— Advance Australia's trade and investment interests through information, advice and services to businesses, industry and governments

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Mr Bruce Gosper, Deputy Secretary

Ms Rhonda Piggot, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Trade and Economic Policy Division

Ms Lorraine Fietz, Director, Live Animals task Force, Trade and Economic Policy Division

Mr Craig Chittick, Assistant Secretary, South-East Asia Investment and Services Branch, Free Trade Agreement Division

Mr Michael Mugliston, Special Negotiator, Free Trade Agreement Division

Mr Hamish McCormick, First Assistant Secretary, Office of Trade Negotiations

Mr George Mina, Assistant Secretary, Services and Intellectual Property Branch, Office of Trade Negotiations

Program 1.1 Trade and Investment Development

Program 1.2 Trade Development Schemes

Austrade representatives

Mr Peter Grey, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Peter Yuile, Executive Director, Education and Corporate Operations

Mr Tim Beresford, Executive Director, Australian Operations

Mr Ian Chesterfield, Group Manager, Programs, Consular and Business Services

Ms Marcia Kimball, Chief Human Resources and Change Management Officer

Mr David Crook, Group Manager, Go vernance, Analysis and Planning

Mr John Angley, General Manager, International Education

Mr Quentin Stevenson- Perks, Group Manager, International Educ ation

Mr Brendan Jacomb, Group Manager, Legal, Security and Procurement

Mr Rob O' Meara, Chief Finance Officer

Mr Michael Vickers, National Manager, Policy and Scheme Development

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation

Mr A ngus Armour, Managing Director and C hief E xecutive O fficer

M r Jan Parsons, Director, Environmental and Technical Review

Australian Agency for International Development

Mr Peter Baxter, Director General

Outcome 1— To assist developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve sustainable development, in line with Australia’s national interest

Mr James Batley, Deputy Director General

Mr Ewen McDonald, Deputy Director General

Mr James Gilling, First Assistant Director General, Pacific Division

Mr Roderick Brazier, Acting First Assistant Director General, Asia Division

Mr Laurie Dunn, First Assistant Director General, Program Effectiveness and Performance Division

Mr Murray Proctor, First Assistant Director General, Sectoral Policy Division

Ms Catherine Walker, First Assistant Director General, Africa, West Asia, Middle East and Humanitarian Division

Mr Scott Dawson, First Assistant Director General, International Programs and Partnerships Division

Mr Blair Exell, First Assistant Director General, Corporate Enabling Division

Mr Paul Wood, Chief Financial Officer

Mr Simon Kidman, Chief Auditor

Mr Dereck Rooken-Smith, Assistant Director General, Office of Development Effectiveness

Ms Lisa Rauter, Assistant Director General, Africa and Middle East Branch

Mr Peter Versegi, Assistant Director General, Budget Branch

Ms Caitlin Wilson, Assistant Director General, Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands Branch

Mr Jean-Bernard Carrasco, Assistant Director General, United Nations, Climate Change and Environment Branch

Ms Therese Mills, Assistant Director General, Community Partnerships and Latin America Branch

Outcome 2— Australia’s national interest advanced by implementing a partnership between Australian and Indonesia for reconstruction and development

Mr James Batley, Deputy Director General

Mr Roderick Brazier, Acting First Assistant Director General, Asia Division

Committee met at 09:00

CHAIR ( Senator Stephens ): I now declare open this meeting of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee and welcome Senator Conroy, representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade, and Mr Dennis Richardson, the secretary, and officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Today the committee will examine the additional estimates for the Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio in the following order: the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade general topics until 5.30 pm today, followed by DFAT trade matters in conjunction with Austrade and EFIC from 5.30 to 6.30 pm. AusAID will be heard from 7.30 on this evening. The date by which answers to questions on notice are to be returned has been set as 29 March. Senators, please provide your written questions on notice to the secretariat by the close of business on 22 February 2012.

Under standing order 26, the committee must take all evidence in public session. This includes answers to questions on notice. Officers and senators are familiar with the rules of the Senate governing estimates committees, but if you need assistance the secretariat has copies of those rules. I particularly draw the attention of witnesses to an order of the Senate dated 13 May 2009 specifying the process by which a claim of public interest immunity should be raised, which I now incorporate into Hansard. There are copies available at each table.

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 (I) 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)