On 10 May 2005,
the Senate referred to the Committee the examination of estimates of proposed
expenditure for the financial year 2005-2006. The Committee is responsible for
the examination of the Attorney-General’s portfolio and the Immigration and
Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs portfolio. The portfolio budget statements
were tabled in the Senate on 10 May
The Committee was required to report on its consideration of
the budget estimates on or before 20
The Committee met in public session from 23 May to 27 May 2005 for a total of 56 hours
The Hansard of the proceedings records the examination of
estimates and may be accessed through the internet at:
The Hansard is also available on the Parliamentary database.
An index of the Hansard for each portfolio appears at
Appendix 1 and Appendix 2.
The Committee heard evidence from Senator the Hon
Minister for Justice and Customs who represented the Attorney-General and from
Senator the Hon Amanda
Vanstone, Minister for Immigration and
Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs.
Officers from both departments and associated agencies also
appeared. The Committee thanks Ministers and officers for their assistance.
Questions on Notice
The Committee notes that the Standing Orders require the
Committee to set dates for the lodgement of any written answers or additional
information and for supplementary hearings. The Committee resolved that the
deadline for the submission of written answers and additional information by
both portfolios would be close of business on Friday, 15 July 2005.
In this report, the Committee draws the attention of the
Senate to issues and concerns raised in the five days of hearings. These
The Committee inquired into the
costs associated with security arrangements in a number of courts including the
NNTT, Family, Federal and High Courts, the Administrative Appeals Tribunal and
the Federal Magistrates Court. The Committee was interested to hear not only
the cost associated with any upgrade but also the type of security and related
equipment being considered.
The APF was questioned regarding
investigations into the unauthorised disclosure of government
documents/information. Concerns were also raised by the Committee regarding the
potential impact on the overseas deployment of AFP officers of a PNG Supreme
Court ruling. The ruling effectively removed prosecutorial immunity from AFP
officers serving in PNG.
The Committee questioned officers
from DIMIA extensively on a number of issues including the conduct and expected
duration of the Palmer inquiry and the
deportation of an Australian citizen from Australia
to the Philippines.
Both Minister Ellison and Minister
Vanstone undertook on notice to provide the
Committee with advice concerning the authority by which the Palmer
inquiry can receive documents classified as 'law-enforcement-in-confidence.'
Officers from DIMIA were also
questioned on the role of the newly appointed National Indigenous Council and
costs associated with the Council's operation.
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