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Notice given 18 October 2012

2383  Senator Ludlam: To ask the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy—With reference to the brief employment of Mr Tim Byrnes by the department and his dismissal:

(1) Did Mr Byrnes voluntarily disclose information to the department arising from his work immediately preceding his engagement.

(2) Did the department know what the alleged document was, what country it referred to or any of its details.

(3) Did departmental staff view, read, review or examine the alleged material to confirm its existence and content.

(4) Did Mr Byrnes have any opportunity to discuss the issues raised in his letter of dismissal before being escorted from the building on his fourth day of work.

(5) Did the department undertake any inquiry or investigation before the instant dismissal on account of Mr Byrnes’ prior, legitimate activities as a journalist.

(6) Why did the department contact the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) after Mr Brynes’ dismissal was reported in the Canberra Times, and not at the time of dismissal if a security issue was involved.

(7) Why was it necessary to call the National Security Hotline to discuss information voluntarily disclosed by an Australian Government employee on a protected clearance level.

(8) Has a protected clearance level employee ever been reported to ASIO or the National Security Hotline in the past.

(9) On what occasions has the Secretary of the department, the Minister, and/or Senator Conroy’s office been briefed in regard to matters concerning Mr Byrnes.