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FOREIGN AFFAIRS, DEFENCE AND TRADE LEGISLATION COMMITTEE
03/06/2010
FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND TRADE PORTFOLIO

Consideration resumed from 2 May 2010

Senators in attendance:

Senator Stephens, Parliamentary Secretary for Social Inclusion and Parliamentary Secretary for the Voluntary Sector



Mr Dennis Richardson, Secretary

Mr James Wise, First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Management Division

Ms Ann Thorpe, Chief Finance Officer, Corporate Management Division

Ms Anne Moores, Assistant Secretary, Executive, Planning and Evaluation Branch

Mr Bruce Gosper, Deputy Secretary




Mr Graham Fletcher, First Assistant Secretary, North Asia Division


Mr Hugh Borrowman, First Assistant Secretary, South-East Asia Division

Mr James Larsen, Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues


Mr Bill Tweddell, First Assistant Secretary, Americas and Africa Division


Mr Bill Tweddell, First Assistant Secretary, Americas and Africa Division


Mr Richard Maude, First Assistant Secretary, Europe Division


Ms Deborah Stokes, First Assistant Secretary, South and West Asia and Middle East Division


Ms Jennifer Rawson, First Assistant Secretary, Pacific Division


Mr Chris Moraitis, First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations and Legal Division

Mr James Larsen, Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues

Ms Caroline Millar, Head, UN Security Council Taskforce

Ms Ruth Adler, Assistant Secretary, Environment Branch

Mr Dominic Trindade, Assistant Secretary, Domestic Legal Branch

Dr Greg French, Assistant Secretary, International Legal Branch


Mr Allan McKinnon, First Assistant Secretary, International Security Division

Mr Bill Paterson, Ambassador for Counter-Terrorism


Mr Greg Moriarty, First Assistant Secretary, Consular, Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division


Ms Anne Plunkett, Chief of Protocol, Protocol Branch


Mr George Mina, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Office of Trade Negotiations

Ms Jan Adams, First Assistant Secretary, Free Trade Agreement Division

Mr Michael Mugliston, Special Negotiator, Free Trade Agreement Division

Mr David Dutton, Assistant Secretary, Trade Policy Issues and Industrials Branch

Mr Remo Moretta, Assistant Secretary, Agriculture and Food Branch

Mr James Baxter, Assistant Secretary, WTO Trade Law Branch

Ms Cathy Raper, Assistant Secretary, Trade Commitments Branch



Mr Paul Tighe, First Assistant Secretary, Trade and Economic Policy Division


Mr Chris Moraitis, First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations and Legal Division


Mr Chris Moraitis, First Assistant Secretary, International Organisations and Legal Division

Mr James Larsen, Ambassador for People Smuggling Issues


Mr Greg Moriarty, First Assistant Secretary, Consular, Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division

Ms Anne Moores, Assistant Secretary, Executive, Planning and Evaluation Branch




Mr Greg Moriarty, First Assistant Secretary, Consular, Public Diplomacy and Parliamentary Affairs Division

Mr Bob Nash, Executive Director, Australian Passport Office



Mr Stuart Page, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Diplomatic Security, Information Management and Services Division


Mr Peter Davin, Executive Director, Overseas Property Office




Dr Nick Austin, Chief Executive Officer

Dr Simon Hearn, Principal Adviser, Strategy and Policy














Mr Peter Baxter, Director General

Mr Richard Moore, Deputy Director General, Asia Division

Mr Murray Proctor, Deputy Director General, Program Enabling Division

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

Mr Blair Exell, Acting Deputy Director General, Pacific and PNG Division

Mr Jamie Clout, Deputy Director General, Corporate Enabling Division

Mr Robin Davies, Deputy Director General, Sustainable Development and Partnership Division

Ms Jane Lake, Assistant Director General, Pacific Branch  

Mr Laurie Dunn, Assistant Director General, Operations, Policy and Support Branch IN

Mr John Davidson, Assistant Director General, Office of Development Effectiveness

Ms Lisa Rauter, Chief Financial Officer 







Mr Peter Grey, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Peter Yuile, Deputy Chief Executive Officer

Ms Hazel Bennett, Executive Director Finance, Information and Planning

Ms Marcia Kimball, Executive Director, Human Resources

Mr Mike Moignard, Acting Executive Director, Export and Investment Services

Mr Ian Chesterfield, General Manager, Business Policy and Programs

Mr John Angley, General Manager, Government and Communications

Ms Elizabeth Gamin, National Manager EMDG Operations

Mr Peter Gunning, Chief Finance Officer

Ms Helen Monro, Manager, Government, International and Policy Group

Mr Michael Vickers, National Manager, Policy and Scheme Development

Ms Freya Campbell, Group Manager, Building Brand Australia

Ms Kylie Bell, Manager, Client Services

Ms Leanne Joyce, Group Manager Communications






CHAIR (Senator Mark Bishop) —I welcome Senator Stephens, representing the Minister for Foreign Affairs and the Minister for Trade. The committee must report to the Senate on 22 June 2010, and 30 July 2010 has been set as the date by which answers to questions on notice are to be returned. Senators should provide their written questions on notice to the secretariat by close of business Thursday, 10 June. 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 hearings. If you need assistance the secretariat has copies of the rules. 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 and which I now incorporate into Hansard.

The document 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)

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