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41st Report: Security funding Appropriation bills: Payments to international organisations
8 December 2004
© Commonwealth of Australia 2005
View the report as a single document - (PDF 248KB)
Members of the Committee
The President of the Senate, Senator the Hon. Paul Calvert (Chairman)
The Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator the Hon. Robert Hill
The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Chris Evans
Senator Lyn Allison
Senator the Hon. Ron Boswell
Senator the Hon. John Faulkner
Senator Jeannie Ferris
Senator the Hon. Bill Heffernan
Senator Robert Ray
The Standing Committee on Appropriations and Staffing, appointed under standing order 19, determines the amounts for inclusion in the parliamentary appropriation bills and reports to the Senate on its determinations prior to the Senate’s consideration of those bills.
The committee examines matters affecting the staffing and administration of the Department of the Senate, including proposals to vary the staffing structure, and other matters referred to it by the Senate. The committee makes an annual report to the Senate on the operations of the Senate’s appropriations and staffing and related matters (standing order 19(3)).
The committee has the explicit capacity to scrutinise security funding and administration and to advise the President and the Senate as appropriate. Under a resolution of the Senate agreed to in 1987 the committee also examines proposed changes in the structure and responsibilities of the parliamentary departments.
The committee is chaired by the President and includes the Senate Leaders of the Government and the Opposition as ex officio members.
Senate Table Office
In its 40 th report, the committee recommended to the Senate a scheme for the rearrangement of security funding, adopted by the President on the recommendation of the Senate Department, whereby budget cuts proposed by government would be transferred to the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) and the Senate Department's budget would not be affected. This arrangement involved the transfer of funds for security formerly held by the Senate Department and paid to the joint department under a purchaser-provider system. The committee recommended that additional steps be taken to ensure that this would not reduce the ability of the Senate and senators to oversee the security system.
This scheme was agreed to by the Senate on 16 June 2004.
In June 2004, the committee noted a proposal to transfer an additional $1 million of the Senate's money to DPS, over and above the money previously allocated for security, to assist that department with its security funding.
As the transfer had not been completed by the time of its annual report in August 2004, the committee now reports this matter to the Senate.
The committee recommends that the Senate:
notes the transfer of $ 1million from the Department of the Senate to the Department of Parliamentary Services as a special contribution to security costs in the parliamentary precincts over and above the transferred funds previously provided for security, and
agrees with the view of the committee that, if any further funds are necessary to provide additional security costs, they be made by additional appropriation to, or savings within, the Department of Parliamentary Services.
The committee notes that, at this stage, the amalgamation of the three joint service departments has not resulted in savings of $5m to $10m per year, as predicted, when fully phased in, in the Podger report. The Department of Parliamentary Services Annual Report and Financial Services 2003-04 indicates that savings identified are in the order of $2 million.
Appropriation Bills – Payments to international organisations
The Audit Office sought a ruling from the committee on whether payments to international aid organisations should be in Appropriation Bill (No. 1) or Appropriation Bill (No. 2).
Correspondence on this matter between the ANAO and the Clerk of the Senate is at Appendix 1.
The committee considers that an initial payment to an international organisation in effect represents a new policy decision and therefore should be in Appropriation Bill (No. 2). The committee considers that subsequent payments represent a continuing government activity of supporting the international organisation and therefore represents an ordinary annual service and should be in Appropriation Bill (No. 1)
The committee recommends that the Senate endorse this view.
Senate entrance area
The committee notes proposals for security arrangements for the Senate entrance area (including access to taxis etc) and has requested a briefing and on-site inspection.
Appendix 1 - Correspondence between the Australian National Audit Office and the Clerk of the Senate on payments to international organisations (PDF 223KB)