Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee
20/11/2014
Estimates
FINANCE PORTFOLIO

FINANCE PORTFOLIO

In Attendance

Senator Cormann, Minister for Finance

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

Department of Finance

Executive

Ms Jane Halton, PSM, Secretary

Outcome 1

Ms Rosemary Huxtable, Deputy Secretary, Budget Group

Ms Teena Blewitt, First Assistant Secretary, Budget Policy and Coordination Division

Dr Arthur Camilleri, Assistant Secretary, Long Term Budget Policy Branch

Mr David Mackay, Assistant Secretary, Budget Coordination Branch

Mr Stephen Clively, First Assistant Secretary, Government and Defence Division

Mr David Hallinan, Assistant Secretary, Immigration, Border Protection and Foreign Affairs

Mr Geoff Painton, Assistant Secretary, Central Agencies and Attorney General’s Branch

Mr Phil Richardson, Assistant Secretary, Defence, Capability and Intelligence Branch

Mr Mark Thomann, First Assistant Secretary, Social Policy Division

Mr Sharon Rose, Assistant Secretary, Social Services Branch

Mr Nicholas Hunt, Assistant Secretary, Health Branch

Mr Simon Teschendorf, Assistant Secretary, Human Services Branch

Mr Martin Graham, Assistant Secretary, Welfare and Indigenous Policy Branch

Mr David Weiss, First Assistant Secretary, Industry, Education and Infrastructure Division

Mr Mike Ford, Assistant Secretary, Education and Employment Branch

Mr Paul Emery, Assistant Secretary, Environment and Industry Branch

Ms Lisa La Rance, Assistant Secretary, Infrastructure, Communications and Agriculture Branch

Mr Murali Venugopal, Assistant Secretary, Budget Analysis Branch

Mr Paul Dworjanyn, Assistant Secretary, Central Budget Management System Redevelopment Project

Ms Lorraine Watt, Assistant Secretary, Central Budget Management System Redevelopment Project

Dr Stein Helgeby, Deputy Secretary, Governance and Resource Management Group

Mr Alan Greenslade, First Assistant Secretary, Financial Analysis, Reporting and Management Division

Mr David Saywell, Acting Assistant Secretary, Financial Analysis, Reporting and Management Branch

Mr Tim Youngberry, First Assistant Secretary, Governance and Public Management Division

Mr Peter Gibson, Assistant Secretary, Financial Analysis, Reporting and Management Branch

Ms Amanda Lee, Assistant Secretary, Funds and Superannuation Branch

Mr Lembit Suur, First Assistant Secretary, Governance and Public Management Reform Taskforce

Mr Brad Cook, Assistant Secretary, Performance, Reporting and Planning Branch

Mr Neil Robertson, Assistant Secretary, Public Management Reform Agenda Implementation Branch

Ms Thea Daniel, Assistant Secretary, Public Management Reform Agenda Policy Branch

Ms Kerry Markoulli, Assistant Secretary, Resource Management Branch

Mr Gareth Hall, Assistant Secretary, Reporting and Resourcing Branch

Ms Simone Pensko, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Efficiency, Assurance and Digital Government Division

Mr Stuart Henry, Acting, Assistant Secretary, Efficiency Improvement Branch

Ms Laurie Van Veen, Assistant Secretary, Communications Advice Branch

Outcome 2

Ms Jan Mason, Deputy Secretary, Business Procurement and Asset Management Group

Mr John Owens, First Assistant Secretary, Property and Construction Division

Mr Andrew Smith, Assistant Secretary, Portfolio Operations Branch

Mr Stephen Oxford, Acting Assistant Secretary, Policy and Advice Branch

Mr Robin Renwick, First Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Claims Division

Mr Andrew Bourne, Assistant Secretary, NBN and Moorebank Shareholder Branch

Mr Robert Antich, Assistant Secretary, Risk, Insurance and Special Claims Branch

Ms Stacie Hall, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Air Warfare Destroyer Reform Taskforce

Ms Yvette Sims, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Technology and Procurement Division

Mr John Edge, First Assistant Secretary, Medibank Sale Taskforce

Mr Alex Glafchev, Acting Assistant Secretary, Digital Government Investment and Assurance Branch

Mr Drew Andison, Acting Assistant Secretary, Digital Government Strategy Branch

Ms Simone Pensko, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Efficiency, Assurance and Digital Government Division

Mr Marc Vickers, Assistant Secretary, Governance and Resource Management Group

Outcome 3

Ms Jenet Connell, Deputy Secretary, Chief Operating Officer

Ms Cheryl-anne Moy, First Assistant Secretary, Ministerial and Parliamentary Services Division

Ms Patricia Hawley, Acting Assistant Secretary, Legal Services Branch

Ms Kim Baker, Assistant Secretary, Entitlements Policy Branch

Mr Jason Ford, Assistant Secretary, COMCAR

Mr Greg Miles, Assistant Secretary, Entitlements Management Branch

Ms Julie Fursman, Assistant Secretary, Client Services Branch

Gen eral

Mr Carl Murphy, First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Services Division

Mr Andrew Harvey, Assistant Secretary, Chief Financial Officer Branch

Ms Suzanne Russel, Acting Assistant Secretary, Communications and Coordination Branch

Ms Jane Miles, Acting Assistant Secretary, People Branch

Ms Rozanne Frost, First Assistant Secretary, Chief Information Officer

Australian Electoral Commission

Mr Tom Rogers, Acting Electoral Commissioner

Mr Kevin Kitson, Acting Deputy Commissioner

Mr Pablo Carpay, First Assistant Commissioner

Mr Tim Courtney, Acting First Assistant Commissioner

Mr Paul Pirani, Chief Legal Officer

Mr Stephen Blackburn, Chief Finance Officer

Ms Anna Robinson, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Elections Branch

Mr Andrew Gately, Assistant Commissioner, Roll Management Branch

Ms Kathy Mitchell, Assistant Commissioner, Education and Communications Branch

Ms Emma Deutrom, Assistant Commissioner, People Services Branch

Ms Seema Srivastava, Assistant Commissioner, Funding and Disclosure Branch

Mr Brad Edgman, Director, Funding and Disclosure Branch

Future Fund Management Agency

The Hon. Peter Costello AC, Chairman

Mr David Neal, Managing Director

Dr Raphael Arndt, Chief Investment Officer

ComSuper

Dr Jill Charker, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Richard Bridge, Branch Head, People and Governance Branch

Mr Vidoshi Jana, Acting Chief Financial Officer

Ms Tracy Savage, Acting Branch Head, Corporate Strategy and Coordination Branch

Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation

Mr Peter Carrigy-Ryan, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Bronwyn McNaughton, General Counsel

Medibank Private Ltd

Mr George Savvides, Managing Director

ASC Pty Ltd

Mr Stuart Whiley, Interim Chief Executive Officer

Mr John Harris, Executive General Manager, Performance/Chief Finance Officer

Mr Martin Edwards, General Manager, Current Operations, Air Warfare Destroyer Alliance

Ms Wendy Hoad, General Counsel and Company Secretary

Committee met at 08:59 on 21 October 2014

CHAIR (Senator Bernardi): I declare open this meeting of the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee. Today the committee was to examine the supplementary budget estimates for 2014-15 for the department and agencies in the Finance portfolio. I have just been advised that, as a mark of respect for the passing of former Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, the committee will adjourn for the remainder of the day. The committee now stands adjourned.

Proceedings suspended from 09:00 on 2 1 October 2014 until 08:59 on 20 November 2014

CHAIR ( Senator Bernardi ): I declare open this meeting of the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee. Today the committee will examine the supplementary budget estimates for 2014-15 for the departments and agencies of the Finance portfolio, beginning with the ASC Pty Ltd, and proceeding through the agencies and departmental outcomes listed on the program. The committee will also examine the annual reports of the departments and agencies appearing before it. The committee has before it a program listing agencies and outcomes relating to matters on which senators have given notice. The committee has fixed 31 December 2014 as the date for the return of answers to questions taken on notice.

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 they 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 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 the expenditure of public funds where any person has a discretion to withhold details or explanations from the parliament or its committee unless the parliament has expressly provided otherwise.

The Senate has resolved also that an officer of the 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 a 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 2009 specifying the process by which a claim of public interest immunity should be raised. 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 the public interest that could result from the disclosure of the information or the document.

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, pp 124-125)

Officers are requested to keep opening statements brief or seek to incorporate longer statements into the Hansard. For the benefit of the record, the committee has also considered the role of the media in this inquiry. They are welcome in a specified section and if any of the senators object to the media in the close proximity to them, we will request them to move.