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Notice given 17 December 2010

*362  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing—With reference to the resolution passed at the September 2010 Congress of the Nobel Peace Prize winning International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW) in Basel, Switzerland, calling for an end to uranium mining on human rights and public health grounds stating:

‘Uranium ore mining and the production of uranium oxide (yellowcake) are irresponsible and represent a grave threat to health and to the environment. Both processes involve an elementary violation of human rights and their use lead to an incalculable risk for world peace and an obstacle to nuclear disarmament.

The International Council of IPPNW therefore resolves that:

IPPNW call for appropriate measures to ban uranium mining worldwide.’:

(1) Has the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency made, or been requested to make, any analysis of this development.

(2) What is the view of the Minister or the department on this position.

*363†  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Attorney-General—

(1) To what extent have Australian assets and/or resources been used in attempts to bring down or jam the websites, Wikileaks.org or Wikileaks.ch.

(2) What Australian assets and/or resources have been used to determine if the Wikileaks’ website has broken any Australian or other national or international laws.

(3) When did the Australian investigation (or any other investigation supported by the Australian Government) into the legality of the actions of Wikileaks begin.

(4) Why is the Australian Government investigating Wikileaks and/or supporting an investigation of Wikileaks.

(5) What has the investigation cost to date.

 

 (6) Was the Government asked to investigate Wikileaks by the Government of the United States of America (US) or any representatives of the US Government.

*364  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs—With reference to the monitoring of Burma’s alleged nuclear program and the role of the Australian Safeguards and Non-Proliferation Office (ASNO):

(1) (a) What efforts have been made to monitor developments in Burma relating to its alleged nuclear weapons program since May 2010; and (b) what role has ASNO played.

(2) At the September 2010 International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Assembly in Vienna, the Burmese military junta’s statement included a refutation of allegations of a nuclear weapons program. What has the IAEA done to investigate this statement.

(3) How has Australia used its position on the Board of Governors, and Australia’s Mission in Vienna to address this potentially very serious proliferation issue in our region.

*365  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs ( transferred to the Minister representing the Minister for Trade on 23 December 2010 )—With reference to assistance to Securency provided by Austrade:

(1) Has Austrade or any of its overseas trade commissioners ever helped arrange travel, accommodation, visa applications and other expenses for foreign government or central bank officials as part of assistance provided to Securency; if so, can a list be provided outlining: (a) to which countries this assistance applied; (b) when it took place; and (c) to which countries the officials were travelling.

(2) Did the Austrade officers involved in arranging this assistance to Securency make efforts to ensure they were not breaching Australian law on bribery of foreign officials when arranging or helping finance travel, accommodation, visa and other expenses for central bank, government and other officials that Securency was seeking to impress.

(3) Has Austrade ever helped source visas from the United States of America for foreign officials to who Securency was trying to sell its banknote products; if so, what was the country or countries of origin of these officials.

(4) Did Austrade help finance or arrange travel for Securency’s Vietnam agent Mr Anh Ngoc Luong to travel overseas in regards to Securency’s business affairs; if so, when.

(5) When did Austrade learn that Mr Luong was regarded as a likely officer in the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam.

(6) When did Austrade pass this information about Mr Luong’s likely official role in the Vietnamese government on to Securency.

*366  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities—Given: (a) the original Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (the EPBC Act) application for the Olympic Dam (by WMC Resources in 2005) was for production levels of up to 1 million tonnes of copper per year; (b) in the draft environmental impact statement (EIS) the limit was 750 000 tonnes; and (c) on 26 September 2010 in South America, BHP Billiton’s Group Executive and Chief Executive Non-Ferrous, Mr Andrew Mackenzie provided a presentation of the company’s intentions for the Olympic Dam expansion to reach a scale of copper production of 750 000 tonnes by year 11 of the expansion, 1 million tonnes by year 17, and 1.4 million tonnes of copper per year by the 40 year mark.

(1) With reference to the EPBC Act and the Olympic Dam EIS assessment, of which we expect the supplement to the EIS to be released by end of 2010:

(a) does the Minister agree that the public has a right to be informed of the real scale of environmental impacts so as to come to an informed view on impacts and on alternatives;

(b) what level of copper production per year applies to the pending Federal Government EIS decision;

(c) will the Federal Government limit the scale of assessment and of decision under the EPBC Act on the Olympic Dam EIS to the maximum scale of mining operations and of consequent impacts assessed in the draft EIS provided by BHP Billiton in 2009 (which covered a level of copper production up to a total of 750 000 tonnes per annum); if not, why not;

(d) noting recent comments of an intended level of copper production up to 1.4 million tonnes per annum, does the Federal Government concur with a statement by the South Australian Minister for Mineral Resources Development (Senate Australian Legislative Council Hansard , 14 October 2010, p. 1060) that if BHP Billiton wishes to operate at a level higher than assessed in the 2009 draft EIS then they would have to re-apply for approval; if not, why not; and

(e) what ramifications does the proposed increase in production by BHP Billiton have for transport arrangements, including:

(i) by rail through Central Australia and Alice Springs,

(ii) out of the Port of Darwin, and

(iii) for processing arrangements in China.

(2) As described, BHP Billiton reported in its 2009 draft Olympic Dam EIS an intention to sell up to 1.6 million tonnes per annum of uranium-infused copper concentrate to China, which contains a few thousand tonnes of uranium. Recently BHP Billiton reported that the scale of production would increase to 3 million tonnes per annum with corresponding doubling in uranium infused with the concentrate:

(a) what ramifications does the proposed increase in production by BHP Billiton have for the treaty which is currently under negotiation with China to provide for precedent sale of Australian uranium in bulk (copper) concentrates with the intended processing of that uranium into nuclear fuel;

(b) what processing facilities in China are intended to receive this concentrate;

(c) what is the ownership or other commercial arrangements intended for these facilities between the Chinese Government and BHP Billiton;

(d) what will be done with the resultant wastes, including long lived bulk radioactive wastes, left in China each year from this proposed arrangement;

 

 (e) does the department acknowledge that a proportion of these wastes are to be classified as Australian Obligated Nuclear Material (AONM); if so, to how much of the total volume of resultant wastes would AONM status apply; and

(f) is the department concerned that Australia (via BHP Billiton) would be dumping at least 1.2 million tonnes of radioactive mining wastes in China each year, and up to 2.2 million tonnes if the BHP Billiton proposed increase in the scale of the Olympic Dam new open pit mine operations goes ahead.

*367  Senator Cormann: To ask the Minister representing the Assistant Treasurer—With reference to the superannuation contributions in excess of the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps:

(1) For each of the following financial years: 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10:

(a) how many individuals made contributions above the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps respectively;

(b) what was the average amount paid above the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps respectively;

(c) what was the total amount of taxation collected as a result of contributions above the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps respectively;

(d) what was the average amount of tax paid per individual on contributions above the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps respectively;

(e) what was the average amount of excess concessional contributions that counted towards the relevant individual’s non-concessional contribution caps for the same period; and

(f) what was the average amount of excess concessional contributions that counted towards the individual’s non-concessional contribution caps that created excess non-concessional contributions for the same period.

(2) For the period 10 May 2006 to 30 June 2007, what is the answer to each of the questions raised in (1)(a) to (1)(f) for the non-concessional contributions made during that period.

(3) For the financial years 2009-10 and 2010-11:

(a) how many people does the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) expect to make contributions above the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps; and

(b) how much tax is this estimated to raise.

(4) Has the ATO investigated the reasons or received explanations from the taxpayers for contributions above the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps respectively.

(5) What were the reasons for contributions above the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps respectively.

(6) Is the ATO aware of how many contributions above the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps respectively were made inadvertently, for example, due to lack of knowledge of precise timing of superannuation contributions from different sources (such as personal contributions, salary sacrifice contributions and compulsory employer contributions); if so, what proportion of contributions fall into these categories.

 

 (7) How much did it cost the ATO to administer the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps respectively for each of the following financial years:

(a) 2007-08;

(b) 2008-09; and

(c) 2009-10.

(8) How much does the ATO estimate it will spend administrating the concessional and non-concessional contribution caps respectively in the 2010-11 financial year.