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SENATE

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22 SENATE Tuesday, 14 February 2017 The PRESIDENT: Senator Reynolds, a final supplementary question. Senator REYNOLDS (Western Australia) (14:36): Can the minister also update the Senate on how else Australia is contributing to the global counter-Daesh coalition? Senator PAYNE (New South Wales—Minister for Defence) (14:36): Indeed the military aspect is just one aspect of the Australian government's approach to defeating Daesh. Defence works closely with a range of other government agencies and our international counterparts to defeat this threat and to dissuade others from joining this drastically misguided cause. As well as our military effort, the government is committed to countering Daesh's narrative through the use of social media to counter Daesh propaganda, to tackling Daesh's financial and economic infrastructure to impede the funding of Daesh-inspired operations and to discouraging and preventing the flow of foreign terrorist fighters joining Daesh's ranks. We are working very closely with the military and with law enforcement agencies across our region to prevent the spread of Daesh into South-East Asia. This is an absolute imperative for the Australian government. The government also recognises the magnitude of the humanitarian challenge and remains committed to providing much-needed humanitarian support to Syria and its neighbours. We are absolutely committed to defeating this abhorrent terrorist organisation across all lines of government effort. (Time expired) Child Sexual Abuse Senator HINCH (Victoria) (14:37): My question is to the Attorney-General. Throughout my radio and television career, my motto was and my question was: who's looking after the children? What is the government doing about fixing a child protection system that is so broken that in the past week state and federal police have been searching for a child protection worker who is wanted for possessing child pornography? Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:37): Thank you, Senator Hinch. I acknowledge that throughout your career as a broadcaster this was an issue in which you took a great deal of interest. It was very much in the public interest that you should have done so. I am delighted that you have, as one ought to have expected, carried that interest into the Senate. Senator Hinch, the Australian government, working collaboratively with state and territory governments, is very, very concerned about this issue and has a number of different initiatives and programs which it supervises or in which it participates. There is, for example, as you would be aware, I am sure, Senator Hinch, the National Child Offender Register. That is a register of all offenders who have been convicted of offences against children—not only sexual offences, I might say, but a large proportion of them, sadly, are sexual offences. That is a database that is accessible to the relevant authorities, in particular the state and territory police and the Australian Federal Police, across Australia. The database is accessible, it is updated, it is contemporised so that wherever a child sex offender, or an offender against children in any respect, is in Australia that data is immediately accessible to the local police. That is just one initiative that the Australian government participates in. Secondly—and, as you know, this been much in the news lately—the Australian government funds the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. In fact, it was Mr Tony Abbott, when he was the Leader of the Opposition, who initially called for the creation of that royal commission. We are delighted that the then Prime Minister Julia Gillard agreed to the view of Mr Abbott that that royal commission should be established. We have, as you know, heard a great, great—(Time expired) The PRESIDENT: Senator Hinch, a supplementary question. Senator HINCH (Victoria) (14:39): Attorney-General, after what you have just told me, would you now support the setting up of a national child protection agency? Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:40): Senator Hinch, the functions of child protection are administered primarily by state governments through both various departments of state departments or territory departments— children services or family services, however so called, in the various states and territories—and also, where crime is involved, of course by the state and territory police. What matters from the Commonwealth government's point of view—the central government's point of view—is that we facilitate the maximum degree of coordination and exchange of information between those departments and agencies as we do on a wide variety of fronts. The state governments are closer to the problem. This is, in our view, a problem best dealt with at the state level with support from Canberra rather than being a problem best dealt with centrally from Canberra. Senator Hinch, in the moments left to me—(Time expired) The PRESIDENT: Senator Hinch, a final supplementary question. CHAMBER

Tuesday, 14 February 2017 SENATE 23 Senator HINCH (Victoria) (14:41): Attorney-General, why wouldn't you then go to COAG and support the creation of a national public register of convicted sex offenders? Senator BRANDIS (Queensland—Attorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:41): Senator Hinch, this is a debate that has been going for some time. The register, as you know, is not a public register. The decision that it should not be a public register is a decision that has been made, among other things, on the advice of the police. One does want to ensure that the register, which exists as a tool and as an asset available to all the state and territory police, is used for the proper purposes—that is, for policing purposes. It is for prevention purposes; it is for investigatory purposes. But the concern that has been expressed to governments, Commonwealth and state, by the police and others is that were there to be a public register it might be abused and it might be used by vigilantes, who have no role in the criminal justice system. So what we want to do is prevent child abuse, arrest the people responsible for it and bring them to justice. That is the facility that I apply to the register. (Time expired) Industry Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (14:42): My question is to the Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, Senator Sinodinos. Minister, your department administers the Australian Industry Participation policies, which were set up to build Australian jobs by creating opportunities for Australian industry. Can you please advise the Senate how many Australian Industry Participation plans for Commonwealth projects did your department approve in 2016? Senator SINODINOS (New South Wales—Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science) (14:42): I do not have the exact figure with me. I will get it for you. I will say this: I have asked my department to look at the requirements in relation to Australian Industry Participation. The reason for that is: I am aware that conversation that has occurred in this chamber and elsewhere has concerned that we give as much of an opportunity particularly to small- and medium-sized enterprises. I have taken as an example what we are trying to do in the Defence space—that is, to use government as an exemplar in terms of using government procurement to drive greater industry capability in Australia—as something that would also, I think, apply more broadly when it comes to government procurement. The PRESIDENT: Senator Carr, a supplementary question. Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (14:43): I thank the minister for his answer. Having recognised the concern in this chamber, can you please advise why the number of Australian Industry Participation plans for Commonwealth projects has fallen under this government from 97 in 2012 to zero—I repeat, zero—in 2016? Senator SINODINOS (New South Wales—Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science) (14:44): What I will do is speak to my department and check what has actually occurred. The PRESIDENT: Senator Carr, a final supplementary question. Senator KIM CARR (Victoria) (14:44): Perhaps, Minister, you could speak to your department and get an answer as to why this government has yet again walked away from Australian workers and Australian jobs. Senator SINODINOS (New South Wales—Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science) (14:44): In the last 12 months, manufacturing employment has gone up. Employment across the economy is going up. We have just had the NAB survey come out today and talk about how these are the best conditions since before the GFC in terms of business confidence and the outlook for investment. We are transitioning the economy to more nonmining investment to take account of the fall-off in mining investment, so I do not accept the premise that jobs are going backwards under this government. They are going up. By the way, we do not just rely on government to create jobs. We create an environment for the private sector to create jobs. Energy Senator O'SULLIVAN (Queensland) (14:45): My question is to the Minister for Resources and Northern Australia. Minister, I note that at midday today black coal was providing 50 per cent of our total electricity generation and brown coal was providing 18 per cent. Before you get your shoes and socks off, that is 68 per cent. With the coal industry employing 44,000 people—thousands in coal-fired power stations—and paying over $5.7 billion in wages and salaries, can the minister advise the Senate how the Australian resources sector benefits our nation's energy mix? Senator CANAVAN (Queensland—Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) (14:46): I thank Senator O'Sullivan for his question. We have grown rich as a nation on our abundant cheap energy sources in our country, including our coal, our gas and our hydro resources down here in southern Australia. We are very lucky as a nation to have been given these resources and to be able to use them to underpin many industries that provide CHAMBER

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