Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download PDFDownload PDF 

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment

Orders of the Senate

Contents

 

 
 
 

Amendments to standing orders

1  Prayer and acknowledgement of country—Amendment to standing order 50

That standing order 50 (Prayer) be amended as follows:

Omit the standing order, and substitute the following:

50  Prayer and acknowledgement of country

The President, on taking the chair each day, shall read the following prayer:

Almighty God, we humbly beseech Thee to vouchsafe Thy special blessing upon this Parliament, and that Thou wouldst be pleased to direct and prosper the work of Thy servants to the advancement of Thy glory, and to the true welfare of the people of Australia.

Our Father, which art in Heaven, Hallowed be Thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

The President shall then make an acknowledgement of country in the following terms:

I acknowledge the Ngunnawal and Ngambri peoples who are the traditional custodians of the Canberra area and pay respect to the elders, past and present, of all Australia’s Indigenous peoples.

( Agreed to 26 October 2010 .)

 

Committees

2  Amendment of committee names; Allocation of departments

(1)  That standing order 25(1) be amended as follows:

Omit: ‘Environment, Communications and the Arts’

Substitute: ‘Environment and Communications’.

Omit: ‘Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport’

Substitute: ‘Rural Affairs and Transport’.

(2) That departments and agencies be allocated to legislative and general purpose standing committees as follows:

Community Affairs

Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs

Health and Ageing

Human Services

Economics

Innova tion, Industry, Science and Research

Resources and Energy

Tourism

Treasury

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, including School Education, Early Childhood and Youth

Environment and Communications

Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities

Finance and Public Administration

Finance and Deregulation

Parliament

Prime Minister and Cab inet, including Regional Australia, Regional Development and Local Government

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade

Defence, including Veterans’ Affairs

Foreign Affairs and Trade

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Attorney-General

Immigration and Citizenshi p

Rural Affairs and Transport

Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry

Infrastructure and Transport.

( Agreed to 29 September 2010 .)

3  Gambling Reform—Joint Select Committee—Authorisation to meet

That the Joint Select Committee on Gambling Reform be authorised to hold a private meeting otherwise than in accordance with standing order 33(1) during the sitting of the Senate on Tuesday, 21 June 2011, from 4 pm.

( Agreed to 15 June 2011 .)

 

 4  Legislation committees—Referral of time critical bills

That—

(1) To ensure appropriate consideration of time critical bills by Senate committees, the provisions of all bills introduced into the House of Representatives after 12 May 2011 and before 2 June 2011 that contain provisions commencing on or before 1 July 2011 (together with the provisions of any related bill) are referred to committees for inquiry and report by 14 June 2011.

(2) The committee to which each bill is referred shall be determined in accordance with the order of 29 September 2010 allocating departments and agencies to standing committees.

(3) A committee to which a bill has been referred may determine, by unanimous decision, that there are no substantive matters that require examination and report that fact to the Senate.

(4) This order does not apply in relation to bills which contain no provisions other than provisions appropriating revenue or moneys (appropriation bills).

( Agreed to 12 May 2011 .)

5  Migration—Joint Standing Committee—Authorisation to meet

That the Joint Standing Committee on Migration be authorised to hold a public meeting during the sitting of the Senate on Wednesday, 22 June 2011, from 10.30 am to noon.

( Agreed to 15 June 2011 .)

6  National Capital and External Territories—Joint Standing Committee—Authorisation to meet

That the Joint Standing Committee on the National Capital and External Territories be authorised to hold a public meeting during the sitting of the Senate on Wednesday, 22 June 2011, from 12.30 pm to 2 pm, to take evidence for the committee’s biannual review of the National Capital Authority.

( Agreed to 16 June 2011 .)

7  Privileges—Standing Committee—Adoption of 94th report recommendation

That the Senate authorise the President, if required, to engage counsel as amicus curiae if either the action for defamation against Mr David Armstrong or a similar action against Mr William O’Chee is set down for trial.

( Agreed to 4 September 2000 .)

Estimates

8  2010-11 additional estimates—2011-12 Budget estimates—Hearings

(1) That estimates hearings by legislation committees for 2011 be scheduled as follows:

2010-11 additional estimates:

Monday, 21 February and Tuesday, 22 February ( Group A )

Wednesday, 23 February and Thursday, 24 February ( Group B ).

 

  2011-12 Budget estimates:

Monday, 23 May to Thursday, 26 May, and, if required, Friday, 27 May ( Group A )

Monday, 30 May to Thursday, 2 June , and, if required, Friday, 3 June ( Group B )

Monday, 17 October and Tuesday, 18 Octob er ( supplementary hearings—Group A )

Wednesday, 19 October and Thursday, 20 October ( supplementary hearings—Group B ).

(2) That the committees consider the proposed expenditure in accordance with the allocation of departments and agencies to committees agreed to by the Senate.

(3) That committees meet in the following groups:

Group A:

Environment and Communications

Finance and Public Administration

Legal and Constitutional Affairs

Rural Affairs and Transport

Group B:

Community Affairs

Economics

Education, Employment and Workplace Relations

Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade.

(4) That the committees report to the Senate on the following dates:

(a) Tuesday, 22 March 2011 in respect of the 2010-11 additional estimates; and

(b) Tuesday, 21 June 2011 in respect of the 2011-12 Budget estimates.

( Agreed to 24 November 2010 .)

9  Community Affairs—Standing Committee—Estimates hearings—Consideration of Indigenous matters

That the Senate endorse the recommendation contained in paragraph 1.10 of the Community Affairs Committee report on the 2008-09 Budget estimates that:

Future estimates hearing programs include a separate time to conduct an estimates hearing on Indigenous matters that would include all the portfolios with budget expenditure or responsibility for Indigenous issues.

( Agreed to 26 August 2008 .)

10  Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee—Estimates hearings—Consideration of Fair Work Australia

That—

(a) when the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee meets to consider additional estimates in 2010:

(i) the committee further examine Fair Work Australia, and

(ii) the President of Fair Work Australia appear before the committee to answer questions; and

 

 (b) on each subsequent occasion on which the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee meets to consider estimates in relation to Fair Work Australia, the President of Fair Work Australia appear before the committee to answer questions.

( Agreed to 28 October 2009 .)

Legislation

11  Consideration of private senators’ bills—Temporary order

(1) That:

(a) standing orders 55(1), 57(1)(d) and 59 be modified as follows to provide for the consideration of general business orders of the day relating to bills on Thursdays from 9.30 am for not more than 2 hours and 20 minutes; and

(b) this order operate as a temporary order from the first sitting day in 2011 till the end of 2011.

55 Times of meetings

(1) The days and times of meeting of the Senate in each sitting week shall be:

Monday 10 am - 6.30 pm, 7.30 pm - 10.30 pm

Tuesday 12.30 pm - adjournment

Wednesday 9.30 am - 8 pm

Thursday 9.30 am - 8.40 pm

57 Routine of business

(1) The routine of business shall be:

(d) On Thursday:

(ia) General business orders of the day for consideration of bills only for up to 2 hours 20 minutes

(i) Petitions

(ii) Notices of motion

(iii) Postponement and rearrangement of business

(iv) Formal motions - discovery of formal business

(v) Consideration of committee reports under standing order 62(4)

(vi) Government business

(vii) At 2 pm, questions

(viii) Motions to take note of answers

(ix) Any proposal to debate a matter of public importance or urgency

(x) Not later than 4.30 pm, general business

(xi) Not later than 6 pm, consideration of government documents under general business

(xii) Not later than 7 pm, consideration of committee reports and government responses under standing order 62(1)

(xiii) At 8 pm, adjournment proposed

(xiv) At 8.40 pm, adjournment.

 

 (2A) If a division is called for on Monday before 12.30 pm, the matter before the Senate shall be adjourned till after that time.

59 Government and general business

Government business shall take precedence over general business, except that general business shall take precedence over government business on Thursday as follows:

(a) from 9.30 am, for a period not exceeding 2 hours and 20 minutes, general business orders of the day for the consideration of bills shall be considered; and

(b) from not later than 4.30 pm, for a period not exceeding 2½ hours, and general business orders of the day shall take precedence over general business notices of motion on alternate Thursdays.

( Agreed to 22 November 2010 upon adoption of recommendation in the Procedure Committee’s fourth report of 2010; continuation of temporary order agreed to 12 May 2011 .)

12  Senate consideration—Private senators’ bills

That the following general business orders of the day be considered under the temporary order relating to the consideration of private senators’ bills on Thursday, 23 June 2011:

No. 57 Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Amendment (Bioregional Plans) Bill 2011

No. 55 Wild Rivers (Environmental Management) Bill 2011

No. 50 National Broadband Network Financial Transparency Bill 2010 (No. 2)

No. 17 Evidence Amendment (Journalists’ Privilege) Bill 2010 (No. 2).

No. 20 Food Standards Amendment (Truth in Labelling—Palm Oil) Bill 2010

No. 52 Foreign Acquisitions Amendment (Agricultural Land) Bill 2010.

( Agreed to 16 June 2011 .)

Meeting of Senate

13  Meeting of Senate

That the days of meeting of the Senate for 2011 be as follows:

Autumn sittings:

Tuesday, 8 February to Thursday, 10 February

Monday, 28 February to Thursday, 3 March

Monday, 21 March to Thursday, 24 March

Budget sittings:

Tuesday, 10 May to Thursday, 12 May

Winter sittings:

Tuesday, 14 June to Thursday, 16 June

Monday, 20 June to Thursday, 23 June

Monday, 4 July to Thursday, 7 July

Spring sittings:

Tuesday, 16 August to Thursday, 18 August

Monday, 22 August to Thursday, 25 August

Monday, 12 September to Thursday, 15 September

Monday, 19 September to Thursday, 22 September

 

  Tuesday, 11 October to Thursday, 13 October

Monday, 31 October to Thursday, 3 November

Monday, 21 November to Thursday, 24 November

Monday, 28 November to Wednesday, 30 November.

( Agreed to 22 November 2010 .)

14  Hours of meeting and routine of business—Variation

That—

(1) On Tuesday, 14 June and 21 June 2011:

(a) the hours of meeting shall be 12.30 pm to 8 pm;

(b) the routine of business from 4 pm shall be valedictory statements; and

(c) the question for the adjournment of the Senate shall be proposed at 7.20 pm.

(2) On Wednesday, 15 June and 22 June 2011:

(a) the hours of meeting shall be 9.30 am to 8 pm;

(b) the routine of business from 4 pm shall be valedictory statements; and

(c) the question for the adjournment of the Senate shall be proposed at 7.20 pm.

(3) On Thursday, 16 June and 23 June 2011:

(a) the hours of meeting shall be 9.30 am to 8.40 pm;

(b) the routine of business from not later than 3.45 pm shall be:

(i) any proposal pursuant to standing order 75, and

(ii) government business only;

(c) consideration of general business and consideration of committee reports, government responses and Auditor-General’s reports under standing order 62(1) and (2) shall not be proceeded with;

(d) divisions may take place after 4.30 pm; and

(e) the question for the adjournment of the Senate shall be proposed at 8 pm.

(4) In making valedictory statements, a senator shall not speak for more than 20 minutes.

( Agreed to 11 May 2011 .)

Orders for production of documents

15  Taxation—Henry Tax Review—Superannuation—Order for production of documents

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Henry Tax Review made a number of recommendations in relation to superannuation,

(ii) those recommendations were not adopted by either the Rudd or Gillard Governments which pursued proposals criticised in the context of the Henry Tax Review,

(iii) the Government so far has not released any of the Treasury modelling or other relevant information and advice about the impact of those Henry Tax Review recommendations, and

 

 (iv) release of that information is in the public interest to enable a fully informed community discussion about the best way forward for superannuation;

(b) calls on the Government to honour its stated commitment to openness and transparency and release all the information it holds about the Henry Tax Review recommendations on superannuation forthwith; and

(c) orders that there be laid on the table by noon on Thursday, 30 September 2010:

(i) any modelling, assessments or advice generated on superannuation-related issues for the purposes of the Henry Tax Review before it finalised its report and recommendations,

(ii) any Treasury modelling, assessments and advice to the Government about the impact of the Henry Tax Review’s recommendations on superannuation, and

(iii) any other information held by the Government about the superannuation-related recommendations in the Henry Tax Review.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 29 September 2010; document tabled 30 September 2010 .)

16  Taxation—Mining tax—Revenue estimates—Order for production of documents

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Government continues to hide key assumptions it has used to estimate revenue from its original as well as its revised mining tax proposals,

(ii) since the last sitting of the Senate, the Select Committee on Fuel and Energy repeatedly sought information from the Government about changes it made to those assumptions between the 2010-11 Budget and the announcement of the new proposed mining tax arrangements on 2 July 2010,

(iii) the committee specifically sought information about changes to commodity price, production volume, exchange rate assumptions and any other variables relevant to its mining tax revenue estimates,

(iv) the information sought by the committee is published by the Western Australian State Government in its budget papers as a matter of course,

(v) the Government did not allow the Secretary of the Department of the Treasury (Dr Henry) to provide that information even when he appeared before the committee for a second time on 13 July 2010,

(vi) the Prime Minister (Ms Gillard) to this day has not responded to Senator Cormann’s letter, dated 12 July 2010, asking for this information to be released,

(vii) the Treasurer (Mr Swan) has since conceded that:

( a ) under the revised assumptions, the original Resource Super Profits Tax (RSPT) proposal would have raised approximately $24 billion over the forward estimates rather than the $12 billion revenue estimate contained in the Budget,

 

 ( b ) a massive $6 billion out of the $10.5 billion revised mining tax revenue estimate was based on changes to government assumptions, and

( c ) under the original assumptions, the Mineral Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) or expanded Petroleum Resource Rent Tax (PRRT) would only have raised $4 billion over the forward estimates, and

(viii) the release of all relevant government assumptions is necessary to enable proper scrutiny of the Government’s mining tax proposal and that, as such, release of that information is in the public interest;

(b) calls on the Government to honour its stated commitment to openness and transparency and release all the information it holds about mining tax revenue estimates forthwith; and

(c) orders that there be laid on the table by 5 pm on Thursday, 30 September 2010 all the Government’s assumptions used to estimate:

(i) the revenue from the RSPT as contained in the 2010-11 Budget, including but not limited to, the assumptions on commodity prices, production volumes and exchange rates, and

(ii) the revenue from and overall fiscal impact of the MRRT/expanded PRRT arrangement announced on 2 July 2010, including all changes to assumptions used for the 2010-11 Budget.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 30 September 2010; document tabled 30 September 2010 .)

17  Taxation—Mining tax—Order for production of documents

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Government conducted negotiations about its revised mining tax with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata in secret before entering into an agreement about this new mining tax proposal with those three companies only,

(ii) approximately 99 per cent of the mining industry was excluded from those secret mining tax negotiations, and

(iii) in its haste to reach a new deal quickly, the Government gave those three companies an unfair competitive advantage, including by:

( a ) allowing them to directly influence the ultimate design of the new tax while excluding their competitors,

( b ) using data provided by those three companies on commodity prices, production volumes and other key assumptions, and

( c ) giving them preferential access to inside information about Government assumptions and thought processes around the new tax;

(b) considers that:

(i) information made available by the Government to those three companies should be made available to everyone,

(ii) any data provided by those three companies for use in any Treasury modelling of the revised mining tax proposals should be publicly released, and

 

 (iii) all parts of any agreement between the Government and those three companies about the revised mining tax arrangements, including any schedules and other attachments, should be publicly available; and

(c) orders that there be laid on the table by 5 pm on Thursday, 30 September 2010:

(i) any information held by the Government related to the negotiations and agreement about the new mining tax proposal announced on 2 July 2010, including but not limited to, briefing notes, e-mails, data provided to the Government by BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata and any other information generated in the context of the negotiations about the new mining tax proposal, and

(ii) a copy of the signed heads-of-agreement on the new mining tax proposal between the Government and BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 30 September 2010; document tabled 30 September 2010 .)

18  Taxation—Mining tax—Government estimates—Order for production of documents

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the executive director of the Revenue Group in the Department of the Treasury (Mr David Parker) told the Select Committee on Fuel and Energy on 5 July 2010 that the department:

( a ) had assessed where the $10.5 billion estimated revenue from the revised mining tax was expected to come from ‘by commodity’, and

( b ) had not assessed where that revenue would come from on a state-by-state basis, but that ‘it would not be a difficult piece of analysis to do’,

(ii) despite repeated requests since, the Government has refused to provide that information,

(iii) this information is required to properly assess and scrutinise the impact of the proposed mining tax on the economy, jobs and on individual states and territories and individual sectors of the resources industry,

(iv) furthermore, the Rudd and Gillard Governments made a commitment that funding from the mining tax related ‘infrastructure fund’ would be allocated to individual states and territories based on the level of mining tax revenue raised in those jurisdictions, and

(v) as such, information about where the revenue is expected to come from on a state-by-state and territory basis is necessary to properly scrutinise whether, and ensure that, individual jurisdictions would receive a fair share of funding from that fund; and

(b) orders that there be laid on the table by 5 pm on Thursday, 30 September 2010:

(i) government estimates of where the $12 billion in revenue from the Resource Super Profits Tax was expected to come from by commodity and by state and territory, and

 

 (ii) government estimates of where the $10.5 billion in revenue from the Minerals Resource Rent Tax/expanded Petroleum Resource Rent Tax is expected to come from by commodity and by state and territory.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 30 September 2010; document tabled 30 September 2010 .)

19  Taxation—Mining tax—Revenue estimates—Order for production of documents

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Government has refused to provide information requested by the Senate about key assumptions it has used to estimate revenue from its original as well as its revised mining tax proposals,

(ii) specifically, the Government has refused to provide information about changes to commodity price, production volume and exchange rate assumptions and any other variables relevant to its mining tax revenue estimates,

(iii) in its response to the relevant order of the Senate, the Government justified its refusal to provide the information on the basis that, ‘commodity price forecasts underpinning the terms of trade forecasts are based in part on information provided by companies that is commercial in confidence. Disclosure of these individual commodity price forecasts may therefore prejudice negotiations between private companies’,

(iv) the information sought by the Senate is published by the Western Australian State Government in its budget papers as a matter of course, and

(v) information published by the Western Australian Government includes its commodity price assumptions developed after relevant information about commodity price expectations is obtained from relevant mining companies, which includes at least some of the companies involved in the mining tax negotiations with the Federal Government;

(b) based on the Government’s response does not accept that there are any legitimate public interest grounds for the Government to refuse to provide the requested information;

(c) orders that there be laid on the table by noon on Thursday, 28 October 2010:

(i) all the Government assumptions used to estimate the revenue from the Resource Super Profits Tax as contained in the 2010-11 budget, including, but not limited to, the assumptions on commodity prices, production volumes and exchange rates, and

(ii) all the Government assumptions used to estimate the revenue from and overall fiscal impact of the Minerals Resource Rent Tax/expanded Petroleum Resource Rent Tax arrangement announced on 2 July 2010, including all changes to assumptions used for the 2010-11 budget;

 

 (d) notes the agreements between the Government and other parties and independents to refer disputes about public interest disclosures to the Information Commissioner, who will arbitrate on the release of documents; and

(e) orders that, if the Government does not produce the information required by this order within the specified timeframe, there be laid on the table by 15 November 2010, a report on the matter by the Information Commissioner, including a review of the adequacy of the grounds specified by the Government for its refusal to produce the information and, if applicable, his arbitration on the release of the information.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 26 October 2010; documents tabled 28 October 2010 and 15 November 2010; document certified 3 February 2011 and tabled 9 February 2011 .)

20  Taxation—Mining tax—Order for production of documents

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Government has refused to provide any of the information requested by the Senate about its negotiations with BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata on the revised mining tax proposal,

(ii) in relation to some of the information only, the Government justified its refusal in its response to the relevant Senate order on the basis that, ‘Data and other material provided to the Treasury as part of negotiations around the MRRT are considered to be commercial in confidence’,

(iii) no justification was provided by the Government as to why release of any of the other information was not in the public interest, and

(iv) specifically, no reason was provided by the Government as to why the release of the signed heads-of-agreement between the Government and BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata would not be in the public interest;

(b) considers release of all the information requested on the negotiations between the Government and BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata about the revised mining tax proposal to be in the public interest;

(c) orders that there be laid on the table by noon on Thursday, 28 October 2010:

(i) any information held by the Government related to the negotiations and agreement about the new mining tax proposal announced on 2 July 2010, including, but not limited to, briefing notes, emails, data provided to the Government by BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata and any other information generated in the context of the negotiations about the new mining tax proposal, and

(ii) a copy of the signed heads-of-agreement on the new mining tax proposal between the Government and BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Xstrata;

(d) notes the agreements between the Government and other parties and independents to refer disputes about public interest disclosures to the Information Commissioner, who will arbitrate on the release of documents; and

 

 (e) orders that, if the Government does not produce the information required by this order within the specified timeframe, there be laid on the table by 15 November 2010, a report on the matter by the Information Commissioner, including a review of the adequacy of the grounds specified by the Government for its refusal to produce the information and, if applicable, his arbitration on the release of the information.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 26 October 2010; documents tabled 28 October 2010 and 15 November 2010; document certified 3 February 2011 and tabled 9 February 2011 .)

21  Taxation—Mining tax—Government estimates—Order for production of documents

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Government has ignored a request by the Senate for information about where the $10.5 billion in estimated revenue from the mining tax over the 2010-11 forward estimates is expected to come from, by commodity and on a state and territory basis, and

(ii) in what appears to be a consolidated response to three separate orders of the Senate for the production of documents the Government did not provide any of the information requested in the relevant order, nor did the Government provide any explanation as to why release of this information would not be in the public interest;

(b) orders that there be laid on the table by noon on Thursday, 28 October 2010:

(i) the Government estimates of where the $12 billion in revenue from the Resource Super Profits Tax was expected to come from, by commodity and by state and territory, and

(ii) the Government estimates of where the $10.5 billion in revenue from the Minerals Resource Rent Tax/expanded Petroleum Resource Rent Tax is expected to come from, by commodity and by state and territory;

(c) notes the agreements between the Government and other parties and independents to refer disputes about public interest disclosures to the Information Commissioner, who will arbitrate on the release of documents; and

(d) orders that, if the Government does not produce the information required by this order within the specified timeframe, there be laid on the table by 15 November 2010, a report on the matter by the Information Commissioner, including a review of the adequacy of the grounds specified by the Government for its refusal to produce the information and, if applicable, his arbitration on the release of the information.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 26 October 2010; documents tabled 28 October 2010 and 15 November 2010; document certified 3 February 2011 and tabled 9 February 2011 .)

 

 22  Superannuation—Productivity Commission report—Order for production of document

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the current process to select default superannuation funds under modern awards is not transparent, not objective or evidence based, not competitive and not subject to systematic review,

(ii) the top ten most commonly listed default funds under modern awards are all union based industry super funds, with these ten funds listed as default super funds in modern awards 330 times,

(iii) the Cooper Review into superannuation also confirmed that current default superannuation fund arrangements undermined competition as new employees typically become a member of a default fund, and

(iv) a competitive, transparent and efficient superannuation industry is critically important to maximise value for all superannuants;

(b) endorses the Labor Party’s commitment before the 2010 election to instruct the Productivity Commission to design a process for the selection and ongoing review of the superannuation funds to be included in modern awards or enterprise agreements as default funds; and

(c) orders that there be laid on the table, no later than 31 May 2011, a report by the Productivity Commission on the design of a process for the selection and ongoing review of the superannuation funds to be included in modern awards or enterprise agreements as default funds, with the requirements that:

(i) the process is to be based on objective criteria and evidence and be subject to systematic review, so that the selection and ongoing review of eligible default funds is transparent and competitive,

(ii) the process is to help maximise employees’ retirement incomes by ensuring that only those superannuation funds that deliver - and continue to deliver - the best results to their members are able to be included as default fund options in modern awards and enterprise agreements, and

(iii) in designing the process the Productivity Commission make reference to the existing sophisticated system of superannuation fund ratings which has evolved over the past 20 years and is already used widely by employees, employers and financial planners in making decisions on fund selection.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 16 November 2010 .)

23  Health—GST Agreement—Proposed variation—Order for production of documents

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Government, as part of its changes to the health system, is proposing to fundamentally alter the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Reform of Commonwealth-State Financial Relations (1999 GST Agreement) with the clear opposition of at least one state - Western Australia, and

 

 (ii) clause 44 of the 1999 GST Agreement states: ‘All questions arising in the Ministerial Council will be determined by unanimous agreement unless otherwise specified in this Agreement’; and

(b) orders that there be laid on the table by 5 pm on Thursday 18 November 2010, any advice (including legal advice and advice from the Solicitor-General or the Australian Government Solicitor) to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet or the Department of the Treasury, or advice from these departments to their respective Ministers, concerning the need for unanimous agreement to vary the GST Agreement.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 17 November 2010; document tabled 18 November 2010 .)

24  Communications—National Broadband Network—Order for production of documents

That there be laid on the table by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Senator Conroy), by 17 November 2010, the following documents relating to the National Broadband Network:

(a) the National Broadband Network Business plan; and

(b) the Government’s response to the McKinsey and Company and KPMG Implementation Study.

( Motion of Senators Ludlam and Birmingham agreed to 17 November 2010 .)

25  Education—Building the Education Revolution—Cost data—Order for production of documents

That—

(a) the Senate notes recommendation 1 of the interim report of the Building the Education Revolution (BER) Implementation Taskforce (the Orgill report), which reads as follows, ‘In the interest of transparency and public accountability, the Taskforce recommends that each education authority publish school specific project cost data related to BER P21 in a nationally common structure with consistent definitions’; and

(b) in the interest of transparency and public accountability in relation to the BER program, there be laid on the table no later than Tuesday, 23 November 2010, school specific project cost data related to each BER P21 school project, in a nationally common structure with consistent definitions.

( Motion of Senator Mason agreed to 18 November 2010; document tabled 23 November 2010 .)

26  Communications—National Broadband Network—Order for production of documents

That there be laid on the table by the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (Senator Conroy), by 22 November 2010, the following documents relating to the National Broadband Network:

(a) the complete text of the departmental ‘Red Book’ advice provided to the incoming Government about the National Broadband Network (NBN), including text ‘blacked out’ in the version of the ‘Red Book’ publicly released on 16 November 2010 and, including in particular, text reflecting NBN Co’s view of any recommendations made in the McKinsey and Company and KPMG Implementation Study;

 

 (b) in respect of sites chosen for early roll-out of the NBN:

(i) the criteria (including engineering advice) used as the basis for choosing each of the stage 1 and seven stage 2 sites in Tasmania (to which the Minister referred to in Senate Estimates on 25 May 2010), and

(ii) the ‘commercial, construction and local authority acceptance criteria’ (to which reference is made on p. 12 of the NBN Co annual report for 2009-10, tabled in the Senate on 15 November 2010) used as the basis for choosing each of the first and second release sites around the rest of Australia; and

(c) the agreed set of enterprise bargaining agreement principles ‘signed and agreed by the ACTU, coordinating right through with the CEPU and a range of other unions’ (to which the Minister referred to in Senate Question Time on 15 November 2010) and on which the Minister based his reassurance (also made during Senate Question Time on 15 November 2010) that ‘there is no suggestion at all that there would be a wages blow-out’ in rolling out the NBN.

( Motion of Senator Fisher agreed to 18 November 2010; document tabled 23 November 2010 .)

27  Health—GST Agreement—Proposed variation—Order for production of documents

That the Senate:

(a) notes that:

(i) the Government has refused to provide the information requested by the Senate in relation to advice to Government about the requirement for unanimous agreement from all parties to change the GST arrangements,

(ii) the Government did not justify its refusal by pointing to a recognised public interest ground and by explaining any harm to the public interest from releasing that information,

(iii) both the 1999 Intergovernmental Agreement on the Reform of Commonwealth-State Financial Relations (GST Agreement) as well as the Intergovernmental Agreement on Federal Financial Relations in 2008 require unanimous agreement from all parties to make any changes to GST arrangements,

(iv) there is no unanimous agreement to change the GST arrangements, and

(v) in its Incoming Government Brief, Treasury advised the Government that ‘Western Australia has indicated that it is not prepared to agree to proposed amendments to the IGA notwithstanding that they preserve the current arrangements for Western Australia’ and that ‘as changes can only be made to the IGA by unanimous agreement of all parties, alternative approaches may need to be considered to give effect to the financing arrangements for other jurisdictions’;

 

 (b) orders again that there be laid on the table by 5 pm on Thursday, 25 November 2010, any advice (including legal advice and advice from the Solicitor-General or the Australian Government Solicitor) to the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet or the Department of the Treasury, or advice from these departments to their respective Ministers, concerning the need for unanimous agreement to vary GST arrangements;

(c) notes the agreements between the Government and other parties and independents to refer disputes about public interest disclosures to the Information Commissioner, who will arbitrate on the release of documents; and

(d) orders that, if the Government does not produce the information required by this order within the specified timeframe, there be laid on the table by 15 December 2010, a report on the matter by the Information Commissioner, including a review of the adequacy of the grounds specified by the Government for its refusal to produce the information and, if applicable his arbitration on the release of the information.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 23 November 2010; document tabled 6 December 2010; documents certified 23 December 2010 and 3 February 2011 and tabled 9 February 2011 .)

28  Environment—Home Insulation Safety Program—Foil Insulation Safety Program—Order for production of documents

That there be laid on the table, no later than noon on Thursday, 25 November 2010:

(a) the full rate of defects discovered under both the Home Insulation Safety Program and the Foil Insulation Safety Program, including:

(i) the number and percentage of roofs found to be unsafe,

(ii) the number and percentage of roofs found to be faulty or substandard,

(iii) the number and percentage of roofs found to be flawed, unsafe or substandard in any way,

(iv) the number and percentage of roofs rectified,

(v) the cost of repairing the faulty, substandard or unsafe insulation, and

(vi) the total amount of money paid by the Australian Government to insulation companies for faulty, substandard, flawed or unsafe insulation; and

(b) information on the asbestos problem discovered under the Home Insulation Program, in particular:

(i) the number of roofs containing asbestos that received insulation,

(ii) any specific warnings of asbestos risk given to installers prior to fitting the insulation, and

(iii) steps being taken to manage the asbestos risk for safety inspectors assessing roofs.

( Motion of Senator Birmingham agreed to 24 November 2010; document tabled 6 December 2010 .)

 

 29  Education—Building the Education Revolution—Bilateral agreements—Order for production of documents

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

(i) the Australian Government has entered into separate bilateral agreements with the states and territories and with Block Grant Authorities (BGAs) in relation to the expenditure of funding granted under the Building the Education Revolution (BER) program,

(ii) the language in the agreements with the states and territories differs from the language in the agreements with the BGAs with respect to the Australian Government’s ability to withhold, suspend or recover monies in the event that the funding is not expended for the purposes of the program and in accordance with the BER Guidelines, and

(iii) the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations indicated at a Senate estimates hearing in October 2010 that the Commonwealth has obtained legal advice that confirms that, notwithstanding the differences in language in the agreements, under each of the two types of agreements the Commonwealth has the power to withhold or recover monies; and

(b) orders that there be laid on the table by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, no later than 4 pm on Thursday, 10 February 2011, a copy of the legal advice relied on by the Government to reach this conclusion.

( Motion of the Chair of the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References Committee (Senator Back) agreed to 9 February 2011; document tabled 10 February 2011 .)

30  Law and Justice— Water Act 2007 —Legal interpretation—Order for production of documents

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the conflicting and confusing positions of the Labor Government in regards to the legal interpretation of the Water Act 2007 ,

(ii) that the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities tabled legal advice from the Australian Government Solicitor in the House of Representatives on 25 October 2010 stating that, ‘The nature of the decision-making in relation to the Plan involves the application of broad concepts and there is therefore scope for the consideration of how economic, social and environmental outcomes should be optimised’,

(iii) that the Chairman of the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Mr Mike Taylor, responded by stating that this advice disagrees with previous advice the Authority had received stating, ‘... clearly the advice we’d had to date had indicated that we were obliged to meet the requirements of adhering to international agreement, and ensuring that we met the environmental flows required to maintain and restore key environmental assets and key ecosystems, and that it was not subject to social and economic impacts’, and

 

 (iv) that, in a statement on 26 October 2010, the Authority revealed that this advice had come from the Minister’s Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, in close consultation with the Australian Government Solicitor for legal interpretation; and

(b) resolves that, to clear up the confusion on the legal interpretation, and the consequent effect that is having on the prospects for jobs and investment in Basin communities, there be laid on the table by the Minister representing the Minister for Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, no later than Thursday, 10 February 2011, all the advice that the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, the Minister’s office and the Australian Government Solicitor have received or provided on this matter.

( Motion of the Leader of The Nationals in the Senate (Senator Joyce) agreed to 9 February 2011; document tabled 10 February 2011 .)

31  Superannuation—Productivity Commission report—Order for production of document

That the Senate—

(a) notes:

(i) the response by the Chairman of the Productivity Commission to an order of the Senate seeking a report by the Commission on the design of a process for the selection and ongoing review of the superannuation funds, which was agreed to by the Senate on 16 November 2010,

(ii) that in a letter to the Clerk of the Senate the Chairman of the Productivity Commission expressed the view that in his understanding ‘such a report would need to be commissioned by the Assistant Treasurer’,

(iii) that like the Australian Information Commissioner, the Chairman of the Productivity Commission appears to have confused a legitimate order of a House of the Australian Parliament for the production of a document, with a request to perform a specific function under his enabling statute, and

(iv) with increasing concern this recently emerging trend of statutory agencies established by the Parliament failing to understand valid orders of the Senate and thereby threatening to interfere with the free exercise by the Senate of its authority and functions;

(b) advises the Productivity Commissioner as follows:

(i) that under section 49 of the Constitution the Senate has the undisputed power to order the production of documents necessary for its information, a power which encompasses documents already in existence and documents required to be created for the purpose of complying with the order,

(ii) this power may be modified only by express statutory declaration, as required by section 49 of the Constitution,

 

 (iii) nothing in the Productivity Commission Act 1998 is expressed as a declaration for the purpose of section 49 that would have the effect of limiting the exercise of the power by the Houses of the Commonwealth Parliament in respect of the Productivity Commission,

(iv) multiple resolutions of the Senate affirm the principle that information may be withheld from it only following consideration by the Senate of a properly founded claim of public interest immunity, and

(v) the Senate has on numerous occasions exercised its power to require statutory agencies and officers to produce information in response to orders; and

(c) again orders the Productivity Commission to provide the report requested by the Senate consistent with its order agreed to on 16 November 2010.

( Motion of Senator Cormann agreed to 10 February 2011 .)

32  Estimates hearings—Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Legislation Committee—Questions on notice—Answers to questions to Education portfolio—Order for production of documents

That there be laid on the table no later than 18 May 2011, the answers to the 159 questions placed on notice that remain outstanding.

( Motion of Senator Back agreed to 12 May 2011 .)

Orders for production of documents still current from previous parliaments

Date of order/mover

Subject

Addressed to

Action

1 5.05.08

Senator Minchin

Defence—Procurement projects

Minister representing the Minister for Defence

Document tabled 19.06.08

17.06.08

Senator Bernardi

Sport—Sports and recreation facilities—Grants

 

Docum ent tabled 23.06.08

27.08.08

Senators Bernardi, Birmingham, Ferguson, Fisher and Minchin

Environment—Coorong and Lower Lakes

 

Statements by leave made 27.08.08 and 01.09.08

04.02.09

Chair of the Select Committee on Fuel and Energy (Senator Cormann)

Carbo n Pollution Reduction Scheme—Treasury modelling

Minister representing the Treasurer

Statements by leave made 05.02.09 and 11.02.09; document tabled 11.08.09

04.02.09

Senator Minchin

Communications—National Broadband Network

Minister for Broadband, Communi cations and the Digital Economy

 

11.03.09

Senator Cormann

Health—Private health insurance—Reforms

Minister Representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

Documents tabled 16.03.09 and 12.05.09

11.03.09

Chair of the Select Committee on Fuel and Energy (S enator Cormann)

Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme—Treasury modelling

 

Statement by leave made 17.03.09; document tabled 11.08.09

13.05.09

Senator Minchin

Communications—National Broadband Network

Note : paragraph (3) of the order lapsed at end of 42nd Parliament.

 

Documents tabled 26.10.09

18.06.09

Senator Fifield

Employment—Employment Services Contract 2009-12

Minister for Employment Participation

Documents tabled 22.06.09 and 11.08.09

25.06.09

Senator Xenophon

Economics—Productivity Commission—Carbon Po llution Reduction Scheme

 

Documents tabled 11.08.09

18.08.09

Senator Cormann

Health—Chemotherapy treatment—Budget cuts

Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

Statement by leave made 19.08.09; documents tabled 26.10.09

19.08.09

Senator C ormann

Health—Aged care providers—General Purpose Accounts

Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

Documents tabled 20.08.09 and 26 .10.09

27.10.09

Senator Birmingham

Environment—Northern Victorian Irrigation Renewal Project

Minister for C limate Change and Water

 

27.10.09

Senator Xenophon

Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme—Frontier Economics report

Minister representing the Treasurer

Document tabled 16.11.09

29.10.09

Senator Siewert

Environment—Montara oil spill

Minister representing the M inister for the Environment, Heritage and the Arts

Documents tabled 16.11.09

17.11.09

Senator Cormann

Health—Aged care providers—General Purpose Accounts

Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

Document tabled 18.11.09

17.11.09

Senator C ormann

Parliament—Health Insurance Amendment (Revival of Table Items) Bill 2009—Legal advice

Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

Documents tabled 18.11.09

17.11.09

Senator Milne

Environment—Geoscience Australia—Carbon dioxide storage sites

 

Document tabled 18.11.09

18.11.09

Senator Fisher

Workplace Relations—Fair Work Amendment (State Referrals and Other Measures) Bill 2009—Bilateral intergovernmental agreements

Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations

Documents tabled 19.11.09, 02.02.10, 04.02.10 and 11.05.10

23.11.09

Senator Cormann

Parliament—Health Insurance Amendment (Revival of Table Items) Bill 2009—Legal advice

Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

Document tabled 24.11.09

2 5.11.09

Senator Milne

Environment—Geoscience Australia—Carbon dioxide storage sites

 

Document tabled 26.11.09

26.11.09

Senators Cormann and Barnett

Health—National Preventative Health Taskforce report

Minister representing the Minister for Health and Ageing

Document tabled 02.02.10

02.02.10

Senator Fierravanti-Wells

Immigration—Asylum seekers— Oceanic Viking

Minister representing the Prime Minister

Documents tabled 03.02.10

03.02.10

Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Bob Brown)

Foreign Affairs—Solom on Islands—Landholder agreements

Minister representing the Minister for Trade

Documents tabled 22.02.10

03.02.10

Leader of The Nationals in the Senate (Senator Joyce)

Taxation—Australia’s Future Tax System Review Panel

Minister representing the Treasurer

Statement by leave made 04.02.10

23.02.10

Senator Cormann

Education—Education Services for Overseas Students Assurance Fund

 

Documents tabled 24.02.10 and 11.05.10

25.02.10

Senator Ludlam

Environment—Commonwealth radioactive waste dump

Minister represent ing the Minister for Resources and Energy

Documents tabled 11.03.10 and 15.03.10

11.03.10

Senator Ludlam

Communications—National Broadband Network Implementation Study

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

Statement by leave made 17.03.10; document tabled 11.05.10

17.03.10

Senators Cormann and Birmingham

Economics—Home insulation program

   

17.03.10

Senator Minchin

Communications—National Broadband Network Implementation Study

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

 

11.05. 10

Senator Fierravanti-Wells

Health—Therapeutic groups

 

Documents tabled 12.05.10 , 16.06.10 and 17.06.10

12.05.10

Chair of the Education, Employment and Workplace Relations References Committee (Senator Cash)

Education—Primary schools

Min ister representing the Treasurer

Document tabled 13.05.10

12.05.10

Senator Birmingham

Environment—Green Loans program

Minister for Climate Change, Energy Efficiency and Water

Document tabled 13. 05.10

12.05.10

Senator Birmingham

Environment—Home Insulatio n Program

Minister representing the Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts

Documents tabled 15.06.10

12.05.10

Senator Birmingham

Environment—Home Insulation Program

Minister representing the Prime Minister

Documents tabled 15.06.10

12 .05.10

Senator Ludlam

Foreign Affairs—Papua New Guinea Liquefied Natural Gas Project

Minister representing the Minister for Trade

Document tabled 16.06.10

12.05.10

Senator Siewert

Environment—Mako shark and porbeagle shark

Minister representing the Minist er for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts

Document tabled 13.05.10

13.05.10

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate (Senator Abetz)

Taxation—Australia’s Future Tax System —Government’s response

Minister representing the Treasurer

Documents tabled 15.06.10

16.06.10

Senator Milne

Finance—Fossil fuel subsidies

   

22.06.10

Senator Ludlam

Environment—Packaging and beverage container waste management

Minister representing the Minister for Environment Protection, Heritage and the Arts

Document tabled 24 .06.10

22.06.10

Senator Ronaldson

Administration—Advertising campaign —Exemption from guidelines

Special Minister of State and Cabinet Secretary

Document tabled 23.06.10

22.06.10

Senator Birmingham

Environment—Energy Efficiency task force —Report

Minister representing the Prime Minister

Document tabled 23.06.10

 

Parliament

33  Meeting of Parliament—‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony

That the Senate is of the view that the declaration of the opening of Parliament should be preceded by an Indigenous ‘Welcome to Country’ ceremony.

( Agreed to 23 June 2010 .)

Question time

34  Modified rules for question time—Temporary order

That the following modified rules for question time continue to operate as a temporary order, in conjunction with standing orders 72 and 73, till the end of 2011:

(a) primary questions shall be limited to one minute and answers to them to two minutes;

(b) two supplementary questions shall be allowed to each questioner, each supplementary question shall be limited to thirty seconds and the answers to them to one minute each; and

(c) answers shall be directly relevant to each question.

( Agreed to 25 November 2009; continuation of temporary order agreed to 28 October 2010 upon adoption of recommendation in the Procedure Committee’s third report of 2010, 1 March 2011, 24 March 2011 upon adoption of recommendation in the Procedure Committee’s first report of 2011 and 12 May 2011 .)

Senate

35  Appropriations—Ordinary annual services of the Government

That, in accordance with the recommendation made in the 50th Report of the Appropriations and Staffing Committee, the Senate resolves:

(1) To reaffirm its constitutional right to amend proposed laws appropriating revenue or moneys for expenditure on all matters not involving the ordinary annual services of the Government.

(2) That appropriations for expenditure on:

(a) the construction of public works and buildings;

(b) the acquisition of sites and buildings;

(c) items of plant and equipment which are clearly definable as capital expenditure (but not including the acquisition of computers or the fitting out of buildings);

(d) grants to the states under section 96 of the Constitution;

(e) new policies not previously authorised by special legislation;

(f) items regarded as equity injections and loans; and

(g) existing asset replacement (which is to be regarded as depreciation),

are not appropriations for the ordinary annual services of the Government and that proposed laws for the appropriation of revenue or moneys for expenditure on the said matters shall be presented to the Senate in a separate appropriation bill subject to amendment by the Senate.

 

 (3) That, in respect of payments to international organisations:

(a) the initial payment in effect represents a new policy decision and therefore should be in Appropriation Bill (No. 2); and

(b) subsequent payments represent a continuing government activity of supporting the international organisation and therefore represent an ordinary annual service and should be in Appropriation Bill (No. 1).

(4) That all appropriation items for continuing activities for which appropriations have been made in the past be regarded as part of ordinary annual services.

( Agreed to 22 June 2010 .)