Thursday, 9 February 2006
Questions without Notice: Additional Answers
by leave—During question time I was asked a question by Senator Kirk in relation to an Ombudsman’s report. I have some more information. I am happy to give that verbally to the Senate. Senator Kirk asked me a question about a further 16 Ombudsman’s reports. I indicated that I was not sure what she was talking about. The reason is that there are not a further 16 Ombudsman’s reports sitting in my office. They do not come to me—or, at least, I might get them, but tabling them is a function not of my control but of the Ombudsman’s. There was one tabled last year in December. That detailed the Ombudsman’s view with respect to two detainees that have been long-term detainees. There is another one being tabled this afternoon which deals with a further 12. If you add the two and the 12, you still do not get to 16. I think that is what Senator Kirk is asking about.
It appears that the Leader of the Opposition in the Senate thinks that he knows more about it, and I will leave it to him to advise Senator Kirk of what he believes is the case.
by leave—I move:
That the Senate take note of the statement.
I wish to take note of Minister Vanstone’s reply. I am sure the minister will correct the record as soon as she can in respect of this, but Immigration Bulletin No. 6 by the Ombudsman, ‘Progress on immigration matters’, says on page 2:
- the Ombudsman has provided 17 reports and statements for tabling in Parliament to the Minister for consideration ...
We assume that, since you spoke about one yesterday, there are 16 others. You said there might be one more with 12, but the Ombudsman has indicated that there are 17 in total. In the Age, you said one. That leaves 16 by my estimation. If you want to correct the record, I am happy for you to do so.
I will have a look at the document the senator is referring to. There is clearly a misunderstanding between us as to what is being referred to by Senator Kirk, by me and by Senator Ludwig. I do not think it will help to continue the conversation when there is such a misunderstanding as to what is being referred to. I will undertake to look at what Senator Ludwig has to say, but I repeat what I said earlier: Senator Evans seems to know so much about it that perhaps he can inform Senator Ludwig.