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Senators in attendance:

Senator the Hon Penny Wong, Minister for Climate Change and Water

Mr Roger Wilkins AO, Secretary

Mr Miles Jordana, Acting Deputy Secretary, Strategic Policy and Coordination Group

Ms Elizabeth Kelly, Acting Deputy Secretary, National Security and Criminal Justice Group

Mr Ian Govey, Deputy Secretary, Civil Justice Group

Ms Sue Chapman, General Manager, Corporate Services Group

Mr David Finlayson, Assistant Secretary, Public Affairs Branch, Corporate Services Group

Mr Stephen Lutze, General Manager, Financial Services Group

Mr Trevor Kennedy, Assistant Secretary, Financial Management Branch, Financial Services Group

Ms Kathy Leigh, First Assistant Secretary, Civil Justice Division

Ms Alison Playford, Assistant Secretary, Federal Courts Branch

Ms Toni Pirani, Assistant Secretary, Family Pathways Branch

Ms Sue Pidgeon, Assistant Secretary, Family Pathways Branch

Ms Cathy Rainsford, Acting Assistant Secretary, Family Law Branch

Ms Sandra Power, Special Adviser, Federal Courts Branch

Ms Catherine Fitch, Acting Assistant Secretary, Administrative Law and Civil Procedure Branch

Ms Vicki Parker, Assistant Secretary, Intercountry Adoption Branch

Mr Matt Minogue, Assistant Secretary, Access to Justice Taskforce

Mr Geoff Gray, Special Counsel, Criminal Justice Division

Dr James Popple, First Assistant Secretary, Legal Services and Personal Property Securities Division

Mr Iain Anderson, First Assistant Secretary, Territories and Native Title Division

Mr James Faulkner, Assistant Secretary, Constitutional Policy Unit

Ms Janette Davis, Assistant Secretary, Office of Legal Services Coordination

Ms Janet Power, Special Adviser, Office of Legal Services Coordination

Mr David Bergman, Assistant Secretary, Bankruptcy Policy Branch

Ms Philippa Lynch, First Assistant Secretary, Classification, Human Rights and Copyright Division

Mr Peter Arnaudo, Assistant Secretary, Human Rights Branch

Ms Helen Daniels, Assistant Secretary, Copyright Law Branch

Ms Kathryn Reidy, Acting Assistant Secretary, Classification Operations Branch

Ms Amanda Davies, Assistant Secretary, Classification Policy Branch

Mr Bill Campbell QC, First Assistant Secretary, Office of International Law

Mr Stephen Bouwhuis, Assistant Secretary, International Law and Trade Branch

Mr Geoff Skillen, Acting Assistant Secretary, International Security and Human Rights Branch

Mr James Graham, First Assistant Secretary, Office of Legislative Drafting and Publishing

Mr Iain Anderson, First Assistant Secretary, Territories and Native Title Division

Mr Jeffrey Murphy, Acting Assistant Secretary, Claims and Legislation Branch, Native Title Unit

Mr Greg Manning, Assistant Secretary, Future Acts and System Coordination Branch, Native Title Unit

Mr Andrew Henderson, Assistant Secretary, Territories East Branch

Mr Julian Yates, Assistant Secretary, Territories West Branch

Ms Katherine Jones, First Assistant Secretary, Indigenous Justice and Legal Assistance Division

Mr John Boersig PSM, Assistant Secretary, Indigenous Policy and Service Delivery Branch

Dr Albin Smrdel, Assistant Secretary, Legal Assistance Branch

Mr Kym Duggan PSM, Assistant Secretary, Indigenous and Community Legal Services Branch

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Dr James Popple, First Assistant Secretary, Legal Services and Personal Property Securities Division

Mr Richard Glenn, Assistant Secretary, Personal Property Securities Branch

Ms Elizabeth Kelly, Acting Deputy Secretary, National Security and Criminal Justice Group, First Assistant Secretary, Criminal Justice Division

Ms Sarah Chidgey, Assistant Secretary, Criminal Law Branch

Ms Sheridan Evans, Assistant Secretary, Identity Security Branch

Ms Kerry Knowler, Acting Assistant Secretary, National Law Enforcement Policy Branch

Mr Anthony Coles, Acting Assistant Secretary, Strategic Policy Coordination Branch

Ms Maggie Jackson, First Assistant Secretary, International Crime Cooperation Division

Mr Steven Marshall, Assistant Secretary, International Assistance and Treaties Branch

Ms Belinda Barry, Assistant Secretary, Mutual Assistance and Extradition Branch

Ms Catherine Smith, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Security and Critical Infrastructure Division

Mr Lionel Markey, Acting Assistant Secretary, E-Security Policy and Coordination Branch

Ms Belinda Moss, Assistant Secretary, National Security Policy Branch

Ms Annette Willing, Assistant Secretary, Security Law Branch

Mr Michael Jerks, Assistant Secretary, Critical Infrastructure Protection Branch

Mr Alex Webling, Acting Assistant Secretary, Chemical Security Branch

Mr Tony Pearce, Director General, Emergency Management Australia

Mr Mike Rothery, Acting Assistant Secretary, Emergency Management Policy and Liaison Branch

Mr Peter Channells, Assistant Secretary, Capability and Operational Coordination Branch

Mr Kevin Rheese, Assistant Secretary, Community and Sector Development Branch

Mr Martin Studdert, Executive Director, Protective Security Coordination Centre

Mr Paul de Graaff,  Assistant Secretary, Information Coordination Branch

Ms Leonie Horrocks, Assistant Secretary, Policy and Services Branch

Mr Mike Norris, Assistant Secretary, Counter-Terrorism Branch

Ms Diana Williams, Assistant Secretary, Security Coordination Branch

Mr Jim Dance, Director, Attorney-General’s Department Coordination Centre, Information Coordination Branch

Dr Karl Alderson, Acting Executive Director

Ms Frances Brown, Assistant Secretary, Business Development and Governance

Mr Iain Anderson, First Assistant Secretary, Territories and Native Title Division

Mr Andrew Henderson, Assistant Secretary, Territories East Branch

Mr Julian Yates, Assistant Secretary, Territories West Branch

Mr Tony Pearce, Director General, Emergency Management Australia

Mr Kevin Rheese, Assistant Secretary, Community and Sector Development Branch

Ms Annabel Dobson, Acting Director, Natural Disaster Mitigation Relief

Mr Philip Moss, Integrity Commissioner

Mr Peter Bache, Acting Executive Director

Mr Nicholas Sellars, Manager, Policy and Research

Mr Brett Adam, Director, Corporate Services

Mr Alastair Milroy, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Jane Bailey, Executive Director, Organisational Services

Mr Kevin Kitson, Executive Director, Strategy Outlook and Policy

Mr Michael Outram, Executive Director, Programs Division

Mr Peter Brady, Senior Legal Adviser

Mr Michael Carmody, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Marion Grant, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Border Enforcement

Ms Linda Smith, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Corporate Operations

Mr Neil Mann, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Passenger, Trade and Facilitation

Mr Steven Groves, Chief Financial Officer

Mr Peter White, National Director, Compliance

Ms Jan Dorrington, National Director, Passengers

Ms Sue Pitman National Director, Trade

Rear Admiral Allan Du Toit, Commander, Border Protection Command

Mr Kingsley Woodford-Smith, National Manager, Enforcement and Investigations

Mr Nigel Perry, National Director, Maritime Operations Support

Mr Jeff Buckpitt, National Director, Intelligence and Targeting

Dr Ben Evans, National Director, Law Enforcement Strategy

Ms Jaclyne Fisher, National Director, Cargo

Mr Mick Keelty APM, Commissioner

Mr Andrew Colvin APM, Acting Deputy Commissioner National Security

Mr Tony Negus APM, Deputy Commissioner Operations

Mr David McLean, Chief of Staff

Mr Andrew Wood, Chief Operating Officer

Ms Rayne de Gruchy AM PSM, Chief Executive Officer

Mr David Riggs, Chief Financial Officer

The Hon Catherine Branson QC, President

Mr Graeme Innes AM, Human Rights Commissioner and Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Mr Tom Calma, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner and Race Discrimination Commissioner

Ms Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner Responsible for Age Discrimination.

Ms Karen Toohey, Acting Executive Director

Mr David Richards, Manager, Finance and Services

Australian Law Reform Commission

Emeritus Professor David Weisbrot AM, President

Ms Sabina Wynn, Executive Director

Mr Paul O’Sullivan, Director-General of Security

Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre

Mr Neil Jensen PSM, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Thomas Story, Executive General Manager

Mr Alf Mazzitelli, General Manager Corporate (Chief Financial Officer)

Mr Ben McDevitt AM APM, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Nicole McLay, Chief Finance Officer

Mr Richard Foster PSM, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Grahame Harriott, Executive Director Corporate Services

Ms Angela Filippello, Principal Registrar

Mr Warwick Soden, Registrar and Chief Executive

Mr Philip Kellow, Deputy Registrar

Mr Gordon Foster, Executive Director, Corporate Services

Mr Peter Bowen, Chief Finance Officer

Mr Richard Foster PSM, Acting Chief Executive Officer

Mr Steve Agnew, Acting Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Mr Grahame Harriott, Acting Chief Finance Officer

Mr Andrew Phelan, Chief Executive and Principal Registrar

Ms Carolyn Rogers, Senior Registrar

Mr Jeff Smart, Manager Corporate Services

Insolvency and Trustee Service Australia

Ms Veronique Ingram, Chief Executive

Mr Peter Lowe, Executive Director

Mr Robert (Bob) Morison, Chief Finance Officer

Ms Stephanie Fryer-Smith, Registrar

Mr Franklin Gaffney, Deputy Registrar

Mr Hardip Bhabra, Chief Financial Officer

Mr Christopher Craigie SC, Director of Public Prosecutions

Mr John Thornton, First Deputy Director

Ms Stela Walker, Deputy Director, Corporate Management

Office of Parliamentary Counsel

Mr Peter Quiggin PSM, First Parliamentary Counsel

Ms Susan McNeilly, General Manager and Chief Financial Officer

CHAIR (Senator Crossin) —I declare open this public meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. The Senate has referred to the committee the particulars of proposed additional expenditure for 2008-09 and related documents for the Attorney-General’s Portfolio. The committee may also examine the annual reports of departments and agencies appearing before it. The committee is required to report to the Senate on 17 March 2009 and we have fixed 14 April 2009 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 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 the expenditure of public funds where any person has discretion to withhold details or explanations from the parliament or its committees unless the parliament has specially provided otherwise. The Senate has also resolved that an officer of a department of the Commonwealth or of the state 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 a superior officer or in fact to the minister. This resolution prohibits only questions asking for opinions on matters of policy but does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policies or factual questions about when and how policies were adopted. If a witness objects to answering a question then they should state the ground upon which the objection is taken and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer having regard to the ground which is claimed. Any claim that it would be contrary to the public interest to answer a question must in fact be made by the minister and should be accompanied by a statement setting out the basis for that claim.

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