Budget estimates 2019-20

Reference

1.1        On 2 April 2019, the Senate referred the following documents to the Senate Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (the Committee) for examination and report:

Portfolio coverage

1.2        The Committee has responsibility for examining the expenditure and outcomes of the following:

Portfolio Budget Statements 2019-20

1.3        The Portfolio Budget Statements for 2019-20 for the Defence Portfolio, Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio were tabled in the Senate on 2 April 2019.[3]

Hearings

1.4        The Committee conducted public hearings on 5 and 10 April 2019.

1.5        On 5 April 2019, the Committee examined the Department of Defence, the Australian Signals Directorate, the Department of Veterans' Affairs and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. On 10 April 2019, the Committee further examined the Defence Portfolio (including Veterans' Affairs).

1.6        The Committee was scheduled to hold a public hearing on 11 April 2019 to further examine the Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio; however, the Governor-General issued a proclamation at 8.29am that morning proroguing the Parliament ahead of an election on 18 May 2019. As a prorogation is regarded as terminating the scheduled sittings of the Senate and of estimates hearings, the hearing scheduled for that day did not take place.

1.7        The Committee received evidence from Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds CSC, Minister for Defence Industry, and also representing the Minister for Defence; Senator the Hon David Fawcett, Assistant Minister for Defence, representing the Minister for Defence and the Minister for Veterans' Affairs; Senator the Hon Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs; and Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment. The Committee also received evidence from officers from the relevant departments and agencies within the Defence Portfolio, including Veterans' Affairs, and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

1.8        The Committee expresses its appreciation for the assistance of the Ministers and officers who appeared.

1.9        Over the course of the hearings, the Committee took evidence from the following departments and agencies:

Defence Portfolio (including Veterans' Affairs)
Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio

1.10      Defence Housing Australia and the Australian War Memorial were scheduled to appear on 10 April 2019 but were released without examination on the day.

Questions on notice and Hansard transcripts

1.11      In accordance with Standing Order 26(9)(a), the Committee set 24 May 2019 as the due date for the return of answers to questions on notice.

1.12      The transcripts of these public hearings and answers and additional information are available on the Committee's website at:

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Senate_Estimates/fadt/2019-2020_Budget_estimates

1.13      In this report references to Hansard page numbers are to the proof transcripts. Page numbers may vary between the proof and official Hansard transcript.

Defence Portfolio, 5 April 2019

Department of Defence

1.14      Topics examined during the hearing included:

Australian Signals Directorate

1.15      Topics examined during the hearing included:

Department of Veterans' Affairs (DVA)

1.16      The Secretary, Ms Liz Cosson, AM CSC, tabled an opening statement.

1.17      Topics examined during the hearing included:

Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio, 5 April 2019

Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT)

1.18      Topics examined during the hearing included:

Non-trade programs

Trade programs

Defence Portfolio, 10 April 2019

Department of Defence

1.19      Topics examined during the hearing included:

Australian Signals Directorate

1.20      Topics examined during the hearing included:

Department of Veterans' Affairs

1.21      Topics examined during the hearing included:

Senator the Hon Eric Abetz
Chair

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