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Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee
20/10/2016
Estimates
FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PORTFOLIO

FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PORTFOLIO

IN ATTENDANCE

Senator Brandis, Attorney-General

Senator McGrath, Assistant Minister to the Prime Minister

Department of Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Ms Frances Adamson, Secretary

Mr Ewen McDonald, Deputy Secretary

Mr Justin Brown, Deputy Secretary

Mr John Fisher, Chief People Officer, Corporate Management Group

Mr Paul Wood, Chief Financial Officer

Ms Lisa Rauter, First Assistant Secretary, InnovationXchange

Ms Kate Logan, Assistant Secretary, Executive Branch

Foreign Affairs Portfolio (Non-Trade Programs)

Outcome 1

The advancement of Australia's international strategic, security and economic interests including through bilateral, regional and multilateral engagement on Australian government foreign, trade and international development policy priorities

Pacific

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Mr Daniel Sloper, First Assistant Secretary

North Asia

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Mr Graham Fletcher, First Assistant Secretary

South - east Asia

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Program 1.4: Official Development Assistance - East Asia Australia-Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development

Mr Allaster Cox, First Assistant Secretary, South-East Asia Maritime Division

Mr Paul Stephens, Acting First Assistant Secretary, South-East Asia Mainland and Regional Division

South and West Asia

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Ms Kathy Klugman, First Assistant Secretary

Middle East and Africa

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Mr Marc Innes-Brown, First Assistant Secretary

Americas

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Mr Brett Hackett, Acting First Assistant Secretary

Europe

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Ms Louise Hand, First Assistant Secretary

Multilateral Policy, Development, Legal and Environment

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Program 1.5: Payments to international organisations

Dr Lachlan Strahan, First Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Policy Division

Mr Andrew Goledzinowski, Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues

Mr Blair Exell, First Assistant Secretary, Development Policy Division

Ms Katrina Cooper, Senior Legal Adviser, Legal Division

Ms Julie Heckscher, Acting Senior Legal Adviser, Legal Division

Mr Michael Bliss, Assistant Secretary, International Legal Branch

Mr Patrick Suckling, Ambassador for the Environment

International security, nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Mr Richard Sadleir, First Assistant Secretary, International Security Division

Dr John Kalish, Acting Director General, Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office

Mr Paul Foley, Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism

Services to other agencies in Australia and overseas

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Mr Robert Tranter, First Assistant Secretary, Public Diplomacy, Communications and Scholarships Division

Mr John Fisher, Chief People Officer, Corporate Management Group

Ms Kate Logan, Assistant Secretary, Executive Branch

Mr Kevin Nixon, Executive Director, Overseas Property Office

Services to diplomatic and consular representatives in Australia

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Mr Michael Googan, Acting Chief of Protocol

Public diplomacy and communication

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Program 1.7: Public information services and public diplomacy

Program 1.6: New Colombo Plan—transforming regional relationships

Mr Robert Tranter, First Assistant Secretary, Public Diplomacy and Communications Division

Progress against Australia's development policy and performance framework

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Mr Blair Exell, First Assistant Secretary, Development Policy Division

Mr James Gilling, First Assistant Secretary, Contracting and Aid Management Division

Cross-regional programs

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Mr Blair Exell, First Assistant Secretary, Development Policy Division

Dr Lachlan Strahan, First Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Policy Division

Emergency, humanitarian and refugee program

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Mr Blair Exell, First Assistant Secretary, Development Policy Division

Mr Jamie Isbister, First Assistant Secretary, Humanitarian, NGOs and Partnerships Division

Multilateral replenishments and global development partnerships

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Program 1.3: Official Development Assistance-multilateral replenishments

Ms Natasha Smith, First Assistant Secretary, Multilateral Development and Finance Division

NGO volunteer and community programs

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Mr Jamie Isbister, First Assistant Secretary, Humanitarian, NGOs and Partnerships Division

Outcome 2

The protection and welfare of Australians abroad and access to secure international travel documentation through timely and responsive travel advice and consular and passport ser vices in Australia and overseas

Consular services

Program 2.1: Consular services

Mr Jon Philp, First Assistant Secretary, Consular and Crisis Management Division

Passport services

Program 2.2: Passport Services

Mr Bob Nash, Executive Director, Australian Passport Office

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 Commonwe alth's overseas property estate

Security and ICT Services

Program 3.1: Foreign affairs and trade security and IT

Mr Luke Williams, Chief Security Officer

Mr Tim Spackman, Chief Information Officer, Information Management and Technology Division

Trade Portfolio (Trade Programs)

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade

Bilateral, regional and multilateral trade negotiations

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Program 1.2: Official Development Assistance

Mr Justin Brown, Deputy Secretary

Mr Michael Mugliston, Chief Negotiator Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Free Trade Division

Mr Michael Growder, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Free Trade Division

Mr Simon Newnham, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Office of Trade Negotiations

Mr Peter Roberts, Assistant Secretary, North Asia Goods Branch, Free Trade Division

Mr Lloyd Brodrick, Assistant Secretary, Free Trade Agreement Legal Issues and Advocacy Branch, Free Trade Division

Ms Tegan Brink, Assistant Secretary, Goods and Investment Branch, Office of Trade Negotiations

Mr Tim Stapleton, Acting Assistant Secretary, Services and World Trade Organisation Trade Policy Branch, Office of Trade Negotiations

Dr Evanor Palac-McMiken, Director, Pacific Agreement on Closer Economic Relations Plus Trade Negotiations Section

Trade development, investment, policy coordination and tourism

Program 1.1: Foreign affairs and trade operations

Program 1.8: Programs to promote Australia's international tourism interests

Mr Justin Brown, Deputy Secretary

Mr James Wiblin, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Investment and Economic Division

Dr Joanne Loundes, Assistant Secretary, Economic Analysis Branch, Investment and Economic

Austrade

Outcome 1: Contribute to Australia's economic prosperity by promoting Australia's export and other international economic interests through the provision of information, advice and services to business, associatio ns, institutions and government

Program 1.1 Promotion of Australia's export and other i nternational economic interests

Program 1.2 Programs to promote Australia's export and other i nternational economic interests

Mr Bruce Gosper, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Jane Madden, Executive Director, Tourism, Investment, Education and Programs

Mr Grame Barty, Executive Director, International Operations

Ms Marcia Kimball, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Robert O'Meara, Chief Finance Officer

Mr Daniel Boyer, General Manager, Tourism

Ms Michaela Browning, General Manager, Investment

Mr Nick Nichles, General Manager, Marketing Communications s and Free Trade Agreement Programs

Ms Kelly Ralston, General Manager, Ministerial and International Education

Mr Chris Stamford, Assistant General Manager, Programs

Mr Dominic Bilbie, Assistant General Manager, Export Market Development Grants Operations

Outcome 2: The protection and welfare of Australians abroad through timely and responsive consular and passport services in specific locations overseas

Program 2.1 Consular and Passport Services

Mr Bruce Gosper, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Marcia Kimball, Chief Operating Officer

Export Finance and Insurance Corporation

Facilitate and encourage Australian export trade by providing financial solutions to Australian co mpanies involved in such trade

Mr Andrew Hunter, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer

Mr John Hopkins, General Counsel

Mr John Pacey, Chief Credit Officer

Mr Jan Parsons, Director, Environmental and Technical Review

Mr Dougal Crawford, Senior Adviser, Government and External Relations

Tourism Australia

Outcome 1

Mr John O'Sullivan, Managing Director

Ms Karen Halbert, Executive General Manager, Corporate Affairs, Government and Industry

Mr Mark Craig, Executive General Manager, Corporate Services

Mr Tim Mahony, Government Affairs Manager

Committee met at 09 :00

CHAIR ( Senator Back ): I declare open this hearing of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee. The committee will begin its examination of the supplementary budget estimates for 2016-17 with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade's non-trade programs until 6 pm, followed by the department's trade programs until 9 pm and then Austrade, Efic and Tourism Australia to conclude. The committee has fixed Friday, 9 December 2016, as the date for the return of answers to questions taken on notice. Senators are asked to provide written questions on notice by Friday, 28 October, tomorrow week.

Under standing order 26, the committee must take all evidence in public session. This includes answers to questions on notice. I remind all witnesses that, in giving evidence to the committee, you are protected by parliamentary privilege. It is unlawful for anyone to threaten or disadvantage a witness on account of evidence given to a committee and such action may be treated by the Senate as a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee.

The Senate, by resolution in 1999, endorsed the following test of relevance of questions at estimates hearings: any questions going to the operations or financial positions of the departments and agencies which are seeking funds in the estimates are relevant questions for the purpose of estimates hearings. I remind officers that the Senate has resolved that there are no areas in connection with expenditure of public funds where any person has discretion to withhold details or explanations from the parliament or its committees unless the parliament has expressly provided otherwise. The Senate has resolved also that an officer of a department of the Commonwealth shall not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy and shall be given reasonable opportunity to refer questions asked of the officer to superior officers or to the minister. This resolution prohibits only questions asking for opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policies or factual questions about when and how policies were adopted.

I particularly draw the attention of witnesses to an order of the Senate of 13 May 2019, specifying the process by which a claim of public interest immunity should 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).

(d) requires the Procedure Committee to review the operation of this order and report to the Senate by 20 August 2009.

(13 May 2009 J.1941)

(Extract, Senate Standing Orders)

Witnesses are specifically reminded that a statement that information or a document is confidential or consists of advice to government is not a statement that meets the requirements of the 2009 order; instead, witnesses are required to provide some specific indication of the harm to public interest that could result from disclosure of the information or the document. An officer called to answer a question for the first time should state their full name and the capacity in which they appear, witnesses should speak clearly and into microphones to assist Hansard to record proceedings. I ask that all mobile phones be switched off or onto silent.