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Burma aid cuts highlights Foreign Minister's portfolio failure

Greens overseas aid spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon has accused the Abbott government of attempting to hide the impact caused by the latest $1 billion reduction in the overseas aid budget by failing to release details of the cuts.

"Foreign Minister Julie Bishop should publicly disclose what aid programs are being cut, when the cuts will occur and how the changes are being managed," Senator Rhiannon said.

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Govt regulations fail - time to end live export trade

The Greens have renewed their call to end Australia's live export trade following the latest exposure of the failure of federal government regulations to stop extreme animal cruelty in overseas abattoirs.

"The recent Animals Australia investigation reveals barbaric acts inflicted on cattle in a major Israeli abattoir, approved to operate under Australia's Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System," Senator Lee Rhiannon, Greens animal welfare spokesperson said.

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Liberal Party willingly take political donations from university that Abbott govt funds

Lee Rhiannon 4 Jun 2015

Despite Liberal and Labor MPs receiving generous political donations from three NSW universities the Abbott government has failed to recognise that this is an abuse of public funding, Greens higher education and democracy spokesperson Senator Lee Rhiannon said.

Last night in Senate estimates, Assistant Minister for Education and Training Senator Simon Birmingham and Associate Secretary Robert Griew were questioned by Senator Rhiannon about political donations made by universities.

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Foreign Affairs and Trade Portfolio)

Senator RHIANNON: Mr Varghese, in what countries in Africa is Australia represented by honorary consuls?

Mr Varghese : Could I take that on notice? I do not have that information with me, and I do not think there is anyone in the room who would have it.

Senator RHIANNON: If you do have honorary consuls, could you indicate what their occupations are in the countries that they represent and whether they have any links with mining companies.

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Export Finance and Insurance Corporation)

Senator RHIANNON: Are you monitoring the current developments with the Export-Import Bank of the United States?

Mr Hunter : We are aware of some press and some of the developments there.

Senator RHIANNON: Have you considered the implications for export finance if the US Congress fails to vote to extend the charter of the Export-Import Bank? What do you see those implications as being?

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Estimates: Education and Employment Legislation Committee (Australian Skills and Quality Authority)

Lee Rhiannon 3 Jun 2015

Senator RHIANNON: I want to clarify those figures. I am interested in since 25 February; you would obviously remember the date when the minister announced ASQA would undertake an audit of 23 RTOs. Have any audits into other RTOs been launched since then?

Mr Robinson : Yes. In terms of our audits, I will get that information for you.

Senator RHIANNON: Can you tell us which RTOs too, please?

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Estimates: Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Legislation Committee (Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade)

Senator RHIANNON: Mr Varghese, I was hoping you would have this information because it would inform our deliberations today-if not, could you take it on notice. Could you provide the committee with a departmental breakdown-a table-of budget estimates for 2014-15 and 2015-16 for ODA eligible expenditure by all government departments?

Mr Varghese : That is probably already covered in what we have either on our website or in the budget document. But the chief financial officer may be able to add.

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Estimates: Education and Employment Legislation Committee (Australian Research Council)

Lee Rhiannon 3 Jun 2015

Senator RHIANNON: I would like to ask about the Industrial Transformation Research Program. I understand that the purpose of this $40 million program is to foster closer collaboration between industries and universities. What I am trying to understand is whether the research hubs based at the universities are collaborating with specific businesses or just industry in a generic sense?

Prof. Byrne : I would like to perhaps table this document-

CHAIR: Hello! You can tell it is Education today!

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