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Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee
29/05/2018
Estimates
DEFENCE PORTFOLIO

DEFENCE PORTFOLIO

In A ttendance

Senator Payne, Minister for Defence

Department of Defence

Mr Greg Moriarty, Secretary

Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC, Chief of the Defence Force

Outcome 1: Defend Australia and its national interests through the conduct of operations and provisions of support for the Australian community and civilian authorities in accordance with Government direction.

Program 1.1: Operations contributing to the safety of the immediate neighbourhood

Lieutenant General Angus Campbell AO, DSC, Chief of Army

Air Marshal Gavin 'Leo' Davies AO, CSC, Chief of Air Force

Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, Vice Chief of the Defence Force

Program 1.2: Operations supporting wider interests

Lieutenant General Angus Campbell AO, DSC, Chief of Army

Air Marshal Gavin 'Leo' Davies AO, CSC, Chief of Air Force

Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, Vice Chief of the Defence Force

Program 1.3: Defence contribution to national support tasks in Australia

Lieutenant General Angus Campbell AO, DSC, Chief of Army

Air Marshal Gavin 'Leo' Davies AO, CSC, Chief of Air Force

Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, Vice Chief of the Defence Force

Outcome 2: Protect and advance Australia’s strategic interests through the provision of strategic policy, the development, delivery and sustainment of military, intelligence and enabling capabilities, and the promotion of regional and global security and stability as directed by Government.

Program 2.1: Strategic Policy and Intelligence

Mr Scott Dewar, Acting Deputy Secretary Strategic Policy and Intelligence

Mr Peter Chesworth, First Assistant Secretary Naval Shipbuilding Taskforce

Mr Dan Fankhauser, Assistant Secretary, Naval Shipbuilding Taskforce

Mr Stephen Moore, Acting First Assistant Secretary International Policy

Dr Sheridan Kearnan, First Assistant Secretary Defence Industry Policy

Mr Alastair MacGibbon, Head, Australian Cyber Security Centre

Mr Mike Burgess, Director, Australian Signals Directorate

Program 2.2: Defence Executive Support

Ms Rebecca Skinner, Acting Associate Secretary

Mr John Geering, First Assistant Secretary Ministerial and Executive Coordination and Communication

Ms Celia Perkins, First Assistant Secretary Security and Vetting Service

Program 2.3: Chief Finance Officer

Mr Steven Groves, Chief Finance Officer

Ms Angela Diamond, Chief Finance Officer Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group

Mr Geoff Brown, First Assistant Secretary Financial Services

Program 2.4: Chief of Joint Capabilities

Air Vice-Marshal Warren McDonald AM, CSC, Chief of Joint Capabilities

Major General Marcus Thompson AM, Deputy Chief Information Warfare

Major General David Mulhall DSC, AM, CSC, Commander Joint Logistics

Air Commodore Matt Hegarty, Acting Commander Australian Defence College

Brigadier Craig Schramm CSC, Acting Commander Joint Health

Commodore Sarah Sharkey CSC, Director General Health Business and Plans

Mr David Morton, Director General Health Policy, Programs and Assurance

Colonel Nicholas Surtees, Provost Marshal Australian Defence Force

Program 2.5: Navy Capabilities

Vice Admiral Timothy Barrett AO, CSC RAN, Chief of Navy

Program 2.6: Army Capabilities

Lieutenant General Angus Campbell AO, DSC, Chief of Army

Program 2.7: Air Force Capabilities

Air Marshal Gavin 'Leo' Davies AO, CSC, Chief of Air Force

Program 2.8: Australian Defence Force Headquarters

Vice Admiral Ray Griggs AO, CSC, Vice Chief of the Defence Force

Major General Peter Gilmore, Head Military Strategic Commitments

Rear Admiral Stuart Campbell Mayer AO, CSC and Bar, Royal Australian Navy

Program 2.9: Capability Acquisition and Sustainment

Mr Kim Gillis, Deputy Secretary Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group

Mr Greg Divall, Group Business Manager Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group

Mr Stephen Johnson, General Manager Submarines

Air Vice-Marshal Leigh Gordon AM, CSM, Head Joint Strike Fighter

Major General David Coghlan, AM, Head Land Systems

Mr Shane Fairweather, First Assistant Secretary Helicopter Systems Division

Commodore Wendy Malcolm, Acting Head Maritime Systems

Commodore Steve Tiffen, Acting Head Maritime Systems

Rear Admiral Tony Dalton, Royal Australian Navy, General Manager Ships Division

Rear Admiral Gregory Sammut, Head Future Submarine Program

Air Vice-Marshal Catherine Roberts AM, CSC, Head Aerospace Systems

Ms Traci-Ann Byrnes, First Assistant Secretary Program Performance

Mr Ivan Zlabur, First Assistant Secretary Joint Systems

Ms Victoria Bergmann, First Assistant Secretary Procurement and Contracting

Ms Angela Diamond, Chief Finance Officer, Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group; Vice Chief of the Defence Force

Program 2.10: Estate and Infrastructure

Mr Steve Grzeskowiak, Deputy Secretary Estate and Infrastructure

Program 2.11: Chief Information Officer

Mr Stephen Pearson, Chief Information Officer

Program 2.12: Defence People

Justine Grieg, Acting Deputy Secretary Defence People

Rear Admiral Brett Wolski CSC, Head People Capability

Program 2.13: Defence Science and Technology

Dr Alex Zelinsky AO, Chief Defence Scientist

Dr Todd Mansell, Acting Chief Defence Scientist

Program 2.14: Defence Force Superannuation Benefits

No additional witnesses listed

Program 2.15: Defence Force Superannuation Nominal Interest

No additional witnesses listed

Program 2.16: Housing Assistance

Mr Steve Grzeskowiak, Deputy Secretary Estate and Infrastructure

Program 2.17: Other Administered

No additional witnesses listed

Defence Housing Australia

Ms Jo Abbot, Chief Financial Officer

Mr Vern Gallagher, Head of Communication and Client Relations

Ms Jo Hobson, Acting Head of Finance

Mr Ross Jordan, General Manager Governance

Mr Brett Jorgensen, Acting General Manager Property Provisioning Group

Mr Michael Kelly, Acting General Manager Property and Tenancy Services

Mr Jeremy Logan, Senior Executive Officer

Mr Steve Ryan, Acting Manager, People and Capability

Ms Jan Mason, Managing Director

Mr Shane Nielsen, General Manager People and Corporate Capability

Ms Suzanne Pitson, General Manager Portfolio Management Group

Ms Yvette Sims, Head of Strategic Planning and Valuation Services

Committee met at 09 :00

CHAIR ( Senator Reynolds ): I declare open this hearing of the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee. The Senate has referred to the committee for examination the particulars of proposed expenditure for 2018-19 of the Defence, Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolios. The committee is due to report to the Senate on 26 June 2018 and has set Friday, 13 July, as the date for the return of responses to questions taken on notice.

Today the committee will begin its examination of the budget estimates for 2018-19 with the Department of Defence. Tomorrow we will continue with the department, followed by Defence Housing Australia, the Australian War Memorial and the Department of Veterans' Affairs. The committee will examine the Foreign Affairs and Trade portfolios on Thursday and Friday.

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 contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee.

The Senate, by resolution in 1999, endorsed the following test of relevance for 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 a discretion to withhold details or explanations from the parliament or its committees, unless the parliament has expressly provided otherwise.

The Senate has resolved also that an officer of a department of the Commonwealth 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 senior officers or to a minister. This resolution prohibits only questions asking for opinions on matters of policy and does not preclude questions asking for explanations of policies or factual questions about when and how policies were adopted.

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. Witnesses are specifically reminded that 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. Instead, witnesses are required to provide some specific indication of the harm to the public interest that 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)