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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zero interest in Senate Estimates in transparency concerns about Parliament

The Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee ( 25/05/2009) laboured through 14 hours of questions and answers on Monday concerning Budget allocations and associated matters for the Parliament, Governor General's Office and Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet. I'll refer in a separate post to a couple of Freedom Of Information issues that were raised.

Should we be, make that are we, surprised that following last week's media interest in MPs allowances, questions generally about transparency and accountability of parliament and parliamentarians, and issues about the fact that parliament to date does not post any of the limited information tabled or released about declarations of interest, travel and other payments to senators and members on the web, none of these subjects was raised during the course of the hearings? Didn't think so. As far as I can see this was the same level of interest shown in the House of Representatives in the first two days back on the job.

The Department of Parliamentary Services does have plans but not much money to do something next year about Parliament's website, still chugging along as a 2002 model, but not a squeak from anyone about what the people's window on parliament should look like in this day and age.

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