Independent Evaluation Committee
The Independent Evaluation Committee (IEC) is an external body that oversees the work of the ODE in quality assuring and evaluating the performance of the Australian aid program. It provides independent strategic and technical advice on all aspects of ODE’s work. The committee has three external members (former World Bank Vice President, Jim Adams, is the chair), and one DFAT representative (at deputy secretary level). The Department of Finance also attends IEC meetings in an observer capacity. The committee met three times in 2015–16.
Parliamentary committees of enquiry
Departmental officers appeared as witnesses before the Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (JSCOT) in relation to eight proposed treaty actions. This figure does not include occasions on which Treaties Secretariat staff attended JSCOT hearings in an observer/advisory capacity. Officers also appeared as witnesses before two Senate, two Joint Standing, two Joint Select, one Parliamentary Standing and one House of Representatives Standing Committees (see Appendix 5).
Courts and administrative tribunals
The department managed a range of legal matters before courts and tribunals during the year. (See Appendix 6.)
The Commonwealth Ombudsman commenced 12 investigations with respect to the department’s activities in 2015–16. There were no notices provided under subsection 12(4) of the Ombudsman Act 1976 and no formal reports were issued.
Office of the Australian Information Commissioner, freedom of information and privacy
The department finalised 273 freedom of information (FOI) applications in 2015–16.
The Information Commissioner affirmed two FOI decisions made by the department and declined to investigate two other applications for review.
No privacy complaints were referred to the Information Commissioner concerning the department.
Detailed information on the department’s management of FOI requests can be found on the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner’s website at oaic.gov.au/freedom-of-information/foi-resources/freedom-of-information-reports/
To meet requirements of the Freedom of Information Act 1982 (FOI Act), we continued to publish information under the Information Publication Scheme contained in Part II of the FOI Act. The content is available at: http://www.dfat.gov.au/foi/ips.html
Campaign Manager, Smartraveller, Consular and Crisis Management Division
I manage the design, development and implementation of the new Smartraveller advertising campaign—launched by the Foreign Minister in November 2015. The new phase of the campaign draws on extensive research and includes television, digital, online video and social media advertisements, a multi-channel media strategy, and adaptation of advertising to reach multicultural audiences.
Australians are consuming media in more ways than ever before, and travelling in increasing numbers. It is immensely satisfying to put my years of communications experience to valuable use and create a campaign that effectively reaches diverse audiences, impacts on travellers’ perceptions, intentions and behaviour and helps Australians safely enjoy their overseas travel.
The department facilitated the enactment of the Passports Legislation Amendment (Integrity) Act 2015 and the Trade Legislation Amendment Act (No. 1) 2016.
We also facilitated a number of legislative instruments, including: the Australian Passports Determination 2015, Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions—South Sudan) Regulation 2015, Charter of the United Nations (Sanctions—Syria) Regulation 2015, and the International Organisations (Privileges and Immunities—Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) Regulation 2015.
The department provided input to legislation managed by agencies within the portfolio and contributed to the development of legislation initiated by other agencies that affected the foreign affairs and trade portfolio.
Reports by the Auditor-General
The Auditor-General tabled in Parliament the following ANAO report related to the department’s operations:
- Report No. 15: Audits of the Financial Statements of Australian Government Entities for the period ended 30 June 2015.
Details of this report can be found on the ANAO website.
Compensation for detriment caused by defective administration
Thirteen new claims were made under the compensation scheme for detriment caused by defective administration. The department resolved 18 cases, including applications made in previous financial years. Of these, 14 applications for compensation were accepted, three were rejected and one was redirected to the appropriate agency. Four cases remained in progress at the end of the financial year.