Output 4.2 Machinery of Government
| Advice, briefing and support
on parliamentary, machinery of government, legal and cultural
issues including on presentation of the government’s
decisions in these areas.
|| Quality: The degree of satisfaction
of the Prime Minister, the Parliamentary Secretary to Cabinet,
the Parliamentary Business Committee, the Prime Minister’s
Office and departmental Executive as expressed through formal
and informal feedback mechanisms, with the timeliness and
quality of material for the Prime Minister’s and other
Maintenance of clear and up-to-date guidelines for annual reports, caretaker
conventions, Guide for Official Witnesses Appearing before Parliamentary
Committees and the Legislation Handbook.
Timely introduction of amendments to portfolio legislation, as necessary.
Extent to which legal actions involving the department are successful.
The degree of satisfaction of the Parliamentary Business Committee with
the timeliness and accuracy of the production and distribution of:
- the legislation programme
- public lists of proposed legislation
- reports of unproclaimed legislation.
| Policy, coordination and promotion
of awards and national symbols.
|| The degree of satisfaction with
support and promotion of the Australian honours system,
The accurate and timely preparation of congratulatory messages.
- the quality and timeliness of policy advice
- accurate and timely processing of nominations for
Effective coordination with Government House on promotional activities
related to the national honours and awards system.
| Advice, briefing and support on
domestic security, counter-terrorism, law enforcement and
border protection issues.*
|| The degree of satisfaction of the
Prime Minister, the National Security Committee of Cabinet,
the Prime Minister’s Office, the Secretaries’
Committee on National Security and departmental Executive,
as expressed through formal and informal feedback mechanisms,
with the timeliness and quality of material for the Prime
Minister’s, other Ministers’ and the Executive’s
Cost of outputs - $7.6m
* Administrative and financial responsibility
for this activity was transferred from International and Social
Policy Divisions on 25 August 2002.
Government Division had regular discussions and consultations
with the Prime Minister’s Office and the Prime Minister’s
parliamentary secretaries, enabling the division to receive ongoing
feedback. The meetings of the Parliamentary Business Committee,
in which the division has a secretariat role, provided opportunities
for feedback on the support the division provided to the committee.
The views of the Prime Minister’s Office were sought on specific
issues in the course of the year, and comments on overall performance
were obtained from the office towards the end of the reporting
year. Through annual work assessment processes and regular performance
appraisals, senior staff of the department provided formal feedback.
Feedback indicated a high level of satisfaction with the way the
division carried out its responsibilities. The division was considered
responsive and reliable in providing professional and timely advice.
Government Division provided support to the government in relation
to a number of issues in 2002-03, including assistance in
the winding up of two royal commissions. The division also continued
to provide advice on a range of government processes, contributing
to the government’s ability to develop policy and deliver
programmes in a sound and well coordinated manner. Some of the
key results for the division in 2002-03 are described below.
The division provided advice in relation to the HIH Royal Commission
and the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry.
The reports of both royal commissions were presented to the Governor-General
and tabled in Parliament by the government during the reporting
period. Following a determination by the Prime Minister, the records
of both royal commissions were placed in the custody of the National
Archives of Australia. The division is responsible for answering
requests for access to the commissions’ records.
Legal actions involving the department
The division, along with the Attorney-General’s Department,
instructed the Australian Government Solicitor in relation to two
cases arising from the Royal Commission into the Building and Construction
Industry in which the Commonwealth was named as a respondent along
with the Royal Commissioner, the Hon. Terence Cole RFD
QC. The first case involved a complaint brought by members and
officials of the New South Wales branch of the Construction, Forestry,
Mining and Energy Union against Commissioner Cole and the Commonwealth.
As Commissioner Cole submitted to the jurisdiction of the court,
the Commonwealth put arguments in order to ensure that the court
had the benefit of a contradictor. The case was dismissed. The
second case, involving the validity of a ‘notice to produce’,
was settled before being heard.
The division also instructed the Australian Government Solicitor
in claims for immunity from the production of Cabinet documents
in the public interest in three cases during 2002-03. At
the end of the reporting period the claims had not been finalised.
During 2002-03 the Administrative Appeals Tribunal heard
two applications for the review of departmental decisions under
the Freedom of Information Act 1982. As the decisions related
to the same applicant, the tribunal heard both at the same time.
At the end of the reporting period the tribunal’s decision
Legal actions involving the Prime
The division provided instructions in relation to one case involving
the Prime Minister during the reporting period. The court dismissed
an application to join the Prime Minister as an additional party
to an existing proceeding involving a damages claim against officials
of the then Department of Social Security.
The division provided advice to the Prime Minister on the establishment
of Executive Agencies under section 65 of the Public Service
Act 1999. The division was also responsible for preparing Executive
Council papers, in consultation with relevant departments and agencies,
to effect the creation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander
Services (in May 2003) and the abolition of Invest Australia (in
November 2002) as Executive Agencies.
The division undertook a range of promotional activities in support
of the government’s public education and communications campaign
to make Australian honours more accessible and better known to
Government Division maintained the website <www.itsanhonour.gov.au>,
which provides up-to-date information about Australian honours,
including a complete list of recipients of Australian honours,
as well as information about the National Flag and the National
Division staff conducted regional visits to the Riverina district
of New South Wales, to the Bendigo-Ballarat region of Victoria,
to the outer Adelaide suburbs and to the Hunter and Newcastle regions
of New South Wales, where they ran workshops to explain Australian
honours to community leaders. The workshops were complemented by
local media coverage.
The travelling exhibition It’s An Honour Australia continued
its schedule of visiting all states and territories. It was exhibited
at Queensland’s Parliament House, at the Queensland Performing
Arts Centre and at the Royal Queensland Show, where it attracted
some 2,000 visitors daily. In May 2003 the exhibition began travelling
around South Australia, through regional and urban centres, including
Port Augusta, Salisbury and Adelaide.
The division handled applications for the Civilian Service Medal
1939-1945, the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal and relevant
medals for civilian surgical and medical teams who served during
the Vietnam War, as well as requests by foreign governments to
recognise the efforts of certain Australian citizens by granting
them foreign awards.
The Centenary Medal was established to recognise people who have
made a particular contribution to Australian society or government.
In addition, all Australian citizens who were born in 1901 or earlier
and lived until 1 January 2001 - known as ‘centenarians’ - have
an entitlement to the award. Nominations for the award of the medal,
submitted by the Australian, state and territory governments, were
processed; and the division serviced the Council for the Centenary
Medal and prepared schedules of nominations for submission to the
Governor-General - 15,703 medals were awarded.
The division provided secretariat services to public service honours
committees, as well as assistance to departmental staff who serve
ex officio as members of the Council of the Order of Australia
and the Australian Bravery Decorations Council.
The division provided support to the Prime Minister in relation
to the nominations of non-Australian citizens for honorary awards
in the Order of Australia. The division also assisted the Prime
Minister in sending over 12,400 messages of congratulation - substantially
more than in 2001-02, as a result of increased public awareness
of the scheme - to Australians celebrating significant wedding
anniversaries and birthdays.
Domestic security and border protection
In October 2002 the Domestic Security and Border Protection Unit
coordinated the Review of Commonwealth Counter-Terrorism Arrangements
commissioned by the Prime Minister following the Bali bombings,
and assisted the Prime Minister with arrangements for the formal
signing of the Inter-Governmental Agreement on Australia’s
National Counter-Terrorism Arrangements. The unit subsequently
provided support for the new National Counter-Terrorism Committee,
established under the agreement, which met for the first time in
November 2002. The committee contributes to the security of the
Australian community by coordinating a nationwide cooperative framework
to counteract terrorism and its consequences.
Administered Item - National Australia
| National Australia Day Council
|| Quality: Grant administered
in compliance with the reporting mechanisms, objectives
and other provisions of the grant funding deed with the
National Australia Day Council so as to contribute to achieving
the vision of the NADC (to inspire national pride and spirit
to enrich the life of the nation).
Administered expenses - $1.3m
The division administered the Australian Government’s grant
to the National Australia Day Council (NADC) and provided advice
on a range of issues relating to the funding and activities of
the NADC. The Australian Government is represented on the board
of the NADC by a senior officer of the department.
The NADC is an agency within the Prime Minister’s portfolio.
It is a Commonwealth company for the purposes of the Commonwealth
Authorities and Companies Act 1997 and produces its own annual
report in accordance with the provisions of that Act. Further information
about the activities of the NADC can be found in that report.
Administered Item - National Security
In December 2002, the Prime Minister announced that the Australian
Government would conduct a public information campaign to reassure
Australians about national security issues.
Australia has been at a heightened level of national security
alert since 11 September 2001. This extended period of heightened
alert for acts of terrorism is unprecedented in Australia’s
history. The terrorist attack in Bali, and the announcement of
a security alert on 19 November 2002, further served to keep
public attention focused on national security issues.
With the issue of the security alert and the prospect that Australia
could remain at a heightened level of national alert for the foreseeable
future, the level of public concern also increased. As a result,
the community was actively seeking more information on what the
heightened level of national security alert meant and what people
could, and should, do in response.
A taskforce was established within the department to develop and
manage the campaign.
Following a selection process, a number of consultants were appointed
to develop the campaign (see Appendixes 3 and 4).
The campaign’s aims were to:
- reassure the community by placing the level of threat and the
strength of our national security system into perspective
- enlist a sense of ownership and support for national security,
by educating people about the current security environment and
the need to be aware without becoming alarmist.
Total expenditure on the campaign to 30 June 2003 amounted
to $18.5 million.