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Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee


In Attendance

Senator Brandis, Attorney-General, Minister for the Arts

Senator Simon Birmingham, Assistant Minister for Education and Training

Attorney-General's Department

Mr Chris Moraitis PSM, Secretary

Mr Tony Sheehan, Deputy Secretary, Strategic Policy and Coordination Group

Mr David Fredericks, Deputy Secretary, Civil Justice and Legal Services Group

Ms Katherine Jones, Deputy Secretary, National Security and Criminal Justice Group

Outcome 1—A just and secure society through the maintenance and improvement of Australia's law and justice framework and its national security and emergency management system

Access to Justice Division

Mr Greg Manning, First Assistant Secretary

Dr Albin Smrdel, Assistant Secretary, Courts Tribunal and Justice Policy

Ms Elizabeth Quinn, Assistant Secretary, Legal Assistance

Ms Kelly Williams, Assistant Secretary, Marriage and Intercountry Adoption

Ms Sara Samios, Executive Director, Tribunals Amalgamation Taskforce

Ms Tamsyn Harvey, Assistant Secretary, Family Law

Civil Law Division

Mr Matt Minogue, First Assistant Secretary

Mr Andrew Walter, Assistant Secretary, Commercial and Administrative Law

Ms Cathy Rainsford, Assistant Secretary, Native Title Unit

Ms Jane Fitzgerald, Assistant Secretary, Classification

Ms Petra Gartmann, Assistant Secretary, Legal Services Policy Coordination

Ms Toni Pirani, Assistant Secretary, Commonwealth Representation Royal Commission

Constitutional and Corporate Counsel Division

Mr James Faulkner SC, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Helen Daniels, Special Adviser

Corporate Division

Mr Stephen Lutze, Chief Financial Officer

Mr Justin Keefe, Assistant Secretary, Service Centre

Mr Trevor Kennedy, Assistant Secretary, Financial Management, Framework and Property

Criminal Justice Division

Mr Iain Anderson, First Assistant Secretary

Mr Anthony Coles, Assistant Secretary, Criminal Law and Law Enforcement

Ms Catherine Smith, Assistant Secretary, Crime Prevention and Federal Offenders

Mr Michael Pahlow, Assistant Secretary, AusCheck

Ms Tara Inverarity, Head, Operation Sovereign Borders Legal Issues Taskforce

Defence Abuse Response Taskforce

Mr Matt Hall, Executive Director

Emergency Management Australia

Mr Mark Crosweller AFSM, First Assistant Secretary

Mr Aaron Verlin, Assistant Secretary, National Disaster Recovery Programmes

Mr Chris Collett, Assistant Secretary, Crisis Coordination

Mr Mike Norris, Acting Assistant Secretary, Dignitary and Major Events Security

Ms Rachel Antone, Assistant Secretary, National Security Training, Education and Development

Information Division

Ms Joann Corcoran, First Assistant Secretary

Mr Shaun McGuiggan, Assistant Secretary, Innovation Service and Delivery

International Law and Human Rights Division

Mr John Reid, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Anne Sheehan, Assistant Secretary, International Law, Trade and Security

Mr Bill Campbell QC, General Counsel

Mr Paul Pfitzner, Acting Assistant Secretary, Human Rights Policy

Ms Sue Robertson, Assistant Secretary, International Human Rights Law

International Crime Cooperation Division

Ms Catherine Hawkins, First Assistant Secretary

Mr Kieran Butler, Acting Assistant Secretary, Transnational Crime and Corruption

Mr Chris Faris, Acting Assistant Secretary, International Crime Cooperation Central Authorities

Ms Elizabeth Brayshaw, Acting Assistant Secretary, International Legal Assistance

National Security Law and Policy Division

Ms Jamie Lowe, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Catherine Jones, Assistant Secretary, National Security Policy and Capability

Ms Anna Harmer, Assistant Secretary, Electronic Surveillance Policy

Ms Annette Willing, Assistant Secretary, Office of the National Security Legal Adviser

Mr Cameron Gifford, Assistant Secretary, Counter-Terrorism Law

National Security Resilience Policy Division

Dr Carolyn Patteson, Acting First Assistant Secretary

Mr Andrew Rice, Assistant Secretary, Cyber and Identity Security Policy

Mr David Campbell, Acting Assistant Secretary, Cyber Security Operations and Infrastructure Modelling

Mr Michael Jerks, Assistant Secretary, Critical Infrastructure Protection

Ms Samantha Chard, Assistant Secretary, Emergency Management Policy

People Strategy

Ms Rachael Jackson, Assistant Secretary

Royal Commission into Institutional Response to Child Sexual Abuse

Mr Philip Reed, Chief Executive Officer

Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption

Ms Sue Innes-Brown, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Mark Ney, Commander, Police Taskforces

Strategy and Delivery Division

Ms Sarah Chidgey, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Ayesha Perry, Assistant Secretary, Strategy and Delivery

Mr Will Story, Assistant Secretary, Constitutional Recognition of Indigenous Australians

Outcome 2—Participation in, and access to, Australia's arts and culture through developing and supporting cultural expression

Ministry for the Arts

Ms Sally Basser, First Assistant Secretary

Ms Asha Rajah-Clarke, Acting Assistant Secretary, Access and Participation

Ms Lyn Allan, Assistant Secretary, Creative Industries

Mr Simon Kelly, Acting Assistant Secretary, Collections and Cultural Heritage

Dr Stephen Arnott PSM, Assistant Secretary, Arts Development and Investment


Australian Commission for Law Enforcement Integrity

Mr Michael Griffin AM, Integrity Commissioner

Mr Nick Sellars, Executive Director, Secretariat

Australia Council

Mr Tony Grybowski, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Tim Blackwell, Executive Director, Corporate Resources

Australian Crime Commission

Mr Chris Dawson APM, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Judy Lind, Executive Director, Strategy and Specialist Capabilities

Mr Paul Williams, Executive Director, Corporate Services

Mr Warren Gray, Acting Executive Director, Operations

Australian Federal Police

Mr Andrew Colvin OAM APM, Commissioner

Mr Andrew Wood, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Graham Ashton AM APM, Deputy Commissioner, Capability

Ms Leanne Close APM, Deputy Commissioner, Operations

Mr Michael Phelan APM, Deputy Commissioner, National Security

Australian Film, Television and Radio School

Ms Sandra Levy, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Anne Browne, Director, Corporate and Production Services

Australian Financial Security Authority

Ms Veronique Ingram, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Andrew Sellars, General Counsel

Mr Gavin McCosker, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Robert Hanlon, Chief Financial Officer

Australian Human Rights Commission

Professor Gillian Triggs, President

Ms Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner

Ms Julie O'Brien, Director, Legal Services

Ms Megan Mitchell, National Children's Commissioner

Ms Michelle Lindley, Deputy Director, Legal Services

Mr Mick Gooda, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Social Justice Commissioner

Ms Padma Raman, Executive Director

The Hon Susan Ryan AO, Age and Disability Discrimination Commissioner

Dr Tim Soutphommasane, Race Discrimination Commissioner

Mr Tim Wilson, Human Rights Commissioner

Australian Law Reform Commission

Professor Rosalind Croucher, President

Ms Sabina Wynn, Executive Director

Australian National Maritime Museum

Mr Kevin Sumption, Director and Chief Executive Officer

Mr Peter Rout, Assistant Director, Operations

Mr Frank Shapter, Chief Financial Officer

Bundanon Trust

Ms Deborah Ely, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Richard Montgomery, Chief Operating Officer

Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Mr Robert Bromwich SC, Director of Public Prosecutions

Ms Gaby Medley-Brown, Chief Corporate Officer

Crimtrac Agency

Ms Nicole Rose, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Lee Walton, Chief Information Officer

Ms Nicole Mayo, Chief Operating Officer

Creative Partnerships Australia

Ms Fiona Menzies, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Emma Calverley, Executive Director, Operations and Marketing

Mr Matthew Morse, Executive Director, Strategy and Programs

Family Court of Australia/Federal Circuit Court of Australia

Mr Richard Foster PSM, Chief Executive Officer

Mr Adrian Brocklehurst FCPA, Executive Director, Corporate and Chief Financial Officer

Mr Steve Agnew, Executive Director, Operations

Federal Court of Australia

Mr Warwick Soden, Chief Executive Officer

Dr Debbie Fletcher, Deputy Registrar, Native Title Tribunal

Mr Mario Torresan, Director, Corporate Services

Mr Peter Bowen, Chief Financial Officer

High Court of Australia

Mr Andrew Phelan, Chief Executive and Principal Registrar

Ms Carolyn Rogers, Senior Registrar

Mr Jeff Smart, Manager, Corporate Services

Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House

Ms Daryl Karp, Director

Mr Andrew Harper, Deputy Director, Business Operations and Heritage

National Archives of Australia

Mr David Fricker, Director-General

Ms Cheryl Watson, Assistant Director-General, Corporate Services Branch

Mr Craig Maconachie, Director, Finance, Corporate Services Branch

Mr Lennard Marsden, Assistant Director-General, Executive and Information Services Branch

National Film and Sound Archive of Australia

Mr Michael Loebenstein, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Denise Cardrew-Hall, Chief Financial Officer and General Manager, Corporate and Business Affairs

National Gallery of Australia

Dr Gerard Vaughan AM, Director

Mr David Perceval, Assistant Director, Corporate Services

Mr Simon Elliott, Assistant Director, Curatorial and Educational Services

National Library of Australia

Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, Director-General

Mr Peter Hughes, Director, Finance Branch

National Museum of Australia

Dr Mathew Trinca, Director

National Portrait Gallery of Australia

Mr Angus Trumble, Director

Office of Parliamentary Council

Mr Peter Quiggin PSM, First Parliamentary Counsel

Ms Aasha Swift, General Manager, Publishing

Ms Susan McNeilly, General Manager and Chief Finance Officer

Screen Australia

Mr Graeme Mason, Chief Executive Officer

Ms Fiona Cameron, Chief Operating Officer

Mr Richard Nankivell, Chief Financial Officer

Office of the Australian Information Commissioner

Professor John McMillan AO, Australian Information Commissioner

Mr Timothy Pilgrim, Privacy Commissioner

Australian Institu t e of Criminology

Dr Adam Tomison, Director and Chief Executive

Committee met at 09:03

CHAIR ( Senator Ian Macdonald ): Good morning, ladies and gentleman. I declare open this public hearing of the Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs Legislation Committee. The Senate has referred to the committee the proposed expenditure for AG, and Immigration and Border Protection and other related documents. The committee may also examine annual reports. In these budget estimates proceedings of today we are dealing with the Attorney-General's portfolio. The committee has set Friday, 10 July as the date by which answers to questions on notice are to be returned. The committee has also decided that written questions on notice should be provided to the secretariat by 5 June. All evidence is to be taken in public and that includes answers.

Witnesses are well aware that they are protected by parliamentary privilege and are aware of what that means, but if they have any doubt please contact the secretariat. Any questions going to the operational or financial positions of the department or agencies which are seeking funds in estimates are relevant questions for the purposes of the hearing. There are no areas in connection with the expenditure of public funds wherein a person has the discretion to withhold details or explanation from parliament or its committees unless parliament has expressly provided otherwise. Officers of the department are not asked to give opinions on matters of policy and shall be given reasonable opportunity to defer questions asked to superior officers or to the minister. That resolution refers to opinions on matters of policy only and does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policies or factual questions on how and when policies were adopted.

Claims for public interest immunity should be raised. 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 and witnesses are required to provide some specific indication of the harm to the public interest which 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)

I welcome Senator the Hon. George Brandis, Attorney-General and Minister for the Arts, and representing the Minister for Justice. Minister, I recall that yesterday you indicated you would only be with us a short time and that you were off to witness the swearing in of your new Parliamentary Secretary, Senator Fierravanti-Wells, and perhaps you could take to Senator Fierravanti-Wells the good wishes and congratulations of this committee on her swearing in. Before I go to the Human Rights Commission, Minister or Secretary, is there anything you wanted to say about today's proceedings?

Senator Brandis: No, thank you.