Annual Report 2005-2006

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External scrutiny

Reports by the Australian National Audit Office

No departmental specific performance audits were conducted by the Auditor-General in 2005–06 though the department was either involved in or responded to the following cross-portfolio performance audits tabled during 2005–06:

Report No. 22: Green Office Procurement
The report was tabled on 22 December 2005.

Report No. 27: Management and Reporting of Expenditure on Consultants
The report was tabled on 30 January 2006.

Report No. 50: Arrangements to Manage and Account for Aid Funds Provided Under the Australia–Indonesia Partnership for Reconstruction and Development
Although the department was an auditee, all recommendations were directed to AusAID. The report was tabled on 27 June 2006.

Australian National Audit Office audits involving the department where work on the audit began during 2005–06 were:

Courts and administrative tribunals

The department was involved in a number of legal matters during the year. There were no decisions that had a significant legal impact on the operations of the department. Details of matters in which the department was involved are at Appendix 6.

Parliamentary committees

The department made submissions and/or gave evidence to 19 parliamentary committee inquiries. In addition, departmental staff appeared before the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties in relation to 31 proposed treaty actions (see Appendix 5 for further details).


The Commonwealth Ombudsman investigated 53 approaches/complaints with respect to the department's activities in 2005–06 and arrived at no negative findings. No formal reports were issued.


The process for all portfolio-related legislation has been managed effectively.

The Australian Passports Act 2005, the Australian Passports (Application Fees) Act 2005, and the Australian Passports (Transitionals and Consequentials) Act 2005, which received assent on 18 February 2005, all commenced on 1 July 2005. The Consular Privileges and Immunities Amendment Act 2005 was assented to and commenced on 15 November 2005.

A number of inoperative appropriation acts managed by the department were repealed as part of the Statute Law Revision Act 2006, which was assented to and commenced on 23 March 2006. Legislation repealed included the Indus Basin Development Fund Agreement Act 1960 and the Indus Basin Development Fund Supplemental Agreement Act 1965, as well as a number of other Acts managed by AusAID.

The department facilitated the enactment of and amendments to several regulations, including amendment to the determinations issued under the new passports regime, and amendment to determinations issued under privileges and immunities legislation.

The department liaised and provided effective input to legislation managed by agencies within the portfolio. The Australia–Japan Foundation (Repeal and Transitional Provisions) Bill was introduced into Parliament on 10 May 2006 and the Australian Trade Commission Legislation Amendment Act 2006 was assented to on 21 June 2006.

The department also liaised with and provided effective input to other portfolios on legislation affecting foreign affairs and trade portfolio legislation.

Compensation for detriment caused by defective administration

Nine cases were lodged under the compensation scheme for detriment caused by defective administration. Seven cases were resolved satisfactorily, five of which were ongoing from previous financial years, resulting in seven payments made from administered funds. Two cases were rejected, one case was subsequently cancelled after further resolution by the post involved and four cases remained in progress at the end of the financial year. One case lodged in the previous financial year has not been pursued by the claimant.

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