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ECONOMICS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE
12/04/2011
Foreign Acquisitions Amendment (Agricultural Land) Bill 2010
ECONOMICS LEGISLATION COMMITTEE
Senate committee
Tuesday, 12 April 2011
Foreign Acquisitions Amendment (Agricultural Land) Bill 2010
Final

CHAIR (Senator Hurley) —I declare open this hearing of the Senate Economics Legislation Committee’s inquiry into the Foreign Acquisitions Amendment (Agricultural Land) Bill 2010. The bill was referred to this committee for inquiry on 10 February 2011. The committee is due to report on 15 June 2011. These are public proceedings, although the committee may agree to a request to have evidence heard in camera or may determine that certain evidence should be heard in camera. 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 a contempt. It is also a contempt to give false or misleading evidence to a committee.

If a witness objects to answering a question the witness should state the ground upon which the objection is taken and the committee will determine whether it will insist on an answer, having regard to the ground which was claimed. If the committee determines to insist on an answer, a witness may request that the answer be given in camera. Such a request may of course also be made at any other time.

I remind members of the committee that the Senate has resolved that departmental officers shall not be asked to give opinions on matters of policy and shall be given reasonable opportunity to refer questions to superior officers or to a minister. This resolution prohibits only 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.

[9.32 am]