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Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee


In attendance

Senator Fifield, Minister for Communications and Minister for the Arts

Department of Home Affairs

Mr Michael Pezzullo, Secretary, Home Affairs Portfolio

Ms Rachel Noble PSM, Deputy Secretary, Executive

Ms Linda Geddes, Acting Deputy Secretary, Policy

Mr Steven Groves, Acting Deputy Secretary, Corporate, Chief Operating Officer

Ms Maria Fernandez PSM, Deputy Secretary, Intelligence and Capability

Ms Malisa Golightly PSM, Deputy Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Services

Mr Paul Grigson, Deputy Secretary, Home Affairs Programs

Mr Tony Sheehan, Deputy Secretary, Commonwealth Counter-Terrorism Coordinator

Mr Alastair MacGibbon, Deputy Secretary, National Cyber Security Adviser/Head of the Australian Cyber Security Centre Commonwealth Cyber Coordinator

Mr Mark Carroll, First Assistant Secretary, Strategic Policy

Ms Shannon Frazer, First Assistant Secretary, Executive Coordination and Services

Mr Lachlan Colquhoun, First Assistant Secretary, Countering Violent Extremism Centre

Ms Cheryl-anne Moy, First Assistant Secretary, Integrity, Security and Assurance

Mr David Wilden, First Assistant Secretary, Immigration and Citizenship Policy

Mr Hamish Hansford, First Assistant Secretary, National Security and Law Enforcement/First Assistant Secretary, Enterprise Strategy, Reform and Performance, Chief Risk Officer

Mr Andrew Chandler, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Traveller, Customs and Industry Policy

Mr Anthony Seebach, Acting First Assistant Secretary, International

Mr Ben Wright, First Assistant Secretary, Corporate Services

Mr Murali Venugopal, First Assistant Secretary, People

Ms Stephanie Cargill, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Finance, Chief Finance Officer

Ms Pip De Veau, First Assistant Secretary, Legal, General Counsel

Mr David Nockels, First Assistant Secretary, Detention Services

Ms Claire Roennfeldt, Acting First Assistant Secretary, Children, Community and Settlement Services

Ms Elizabeth Hampton, First Assistant Secretary, Health Services and Policy

Mr Tim Catley, First Assistant Secretary, ICT, Chief Information Officer

Mr Cameron Ashe, First Assistant Secretary, Intelligence

Mr Michael Milford AM, First Assistant Secretary, Major Capability

Mr Joe Franzi, First Assistant Secretary, Identity and Biometrics

Mr Steven Davies, First Assistant Secretary, Data Management

Ms Christine Dacey, First Assistant Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management

Mr Luke Mansfield, First Assistant Secretary, Refugee and Humanitarian Visa Management

Ms Peta Dunn, First Assistant Secretary, Community Protection

Mr Andrew Kefford PSM, First Assistant Secretary, Visa Delivery Transformation

Ms Sachi Wimmer, First Assistant Secretary, Office of Transport Security

Mr Mark Crosweller, First Assistant Secretary, Emergency Management Australia

Mr Pablo Carpay, First Assistant Secretary, Critical Infrastructure Centre

Mr David Chick, Assistant Secretary, Counter-Terrorism Policy, Centre for CT Coordination

Mr Andrew Rice, Assistant Secretary

Ms Sandra Ragg, Deputy National Cyber Security Adviser, Cyber Security Policy

Mr Damien Kilner, Assistant Secretary, Visa and Citizenship Management Division

Australian Border Force

Mr Michael Outram APM, Acting Commissioner, Australian Border Force

Mr Clive Murray, Acting Deputy Commissioner, Operations

Ms Mandy Newton APM, Deputy Commissioner, Support

Ms Erin Dale, Assistant Commissioner, Border Management

Ms Rachel Houghton, Assistant Commissioner, Operational Practices Command

Mr Stephen Hayward, Assistant Commissioner, Close Support Command

Rear Admiral Peter Laver, Commander, Maritime Border Command

Ms Kaylene Zakharoff, Assistant Commissioner, Strategic Border Command

Mr Kingsley Woodford-Smith, Assistant Commissioner, Support

Ms Sharon Huey, Assistant Commissioner, Enforcement Command

Air Vice Marshal Stephen Osborne AM CSC, Commander, Operation Sovereign Borders Joint Agency Task Force

Australian Criminal Intelligence Commission

Mr Michael Phelan APM, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Nicole Mayo, Acting Chief Operating Officer

Ms Rochelle Thorne, Executive Director Technology

Mr Col Blanch, Executive Director Operational Intelligence

Mr Jeremy Johnson, National Manager Strategic Policy and Engagement

Mr Matt Jones, Chief Technology Officer

Australian Institute of Criminology

Mr Michael Phelan APM, Director

Dr Rick Brown, Deputy Director

Australian Federal Police

Mr Andrew Colvin APM OAM, Commissioner

Ms Sue Bird, Chief Operating Officer

Ms Leanne Close APM, Deputy Commissioner Operations

Mr Ramzi Jabbour, Deputy Commissioner Capability

Mr Ian McCartney, Acting Deputy Commissioner National Security

Mr Peter Gunning, Chief Financial Officer

Mr Nigel Ryan, Acting Assistant Commissioner, Reform Culture and Standards

Committee met at 09:02

CHAIR ( Senator Ian Macdonald ): I call the committee to order. We are not strictly speaking quorate, because we don't have a member of Labor Party here just at the moment. I understand Senator Pratt is on the way. But I might just, notwithstanding that, start with the long list of welcomes so that we can at least get started. I incorporate the public immunity statement.

    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)