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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Slipping into Deputy Speaker's chair

Plenty of media coverage in the last few days about the election of the Liberal Party's Peter Slipper as Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives but it seems Bill Hoffman at the Gold Coast Bulletin Sunshine Coast Daily is the only one writing about the ongoing investigation into Mr Slipper’s claims for parliamentary entitlements, and any possible link between the two.

Special Minister of State for the Public Service and Integrity Gary Gray told Hoffman that
“Details of any specific action, or the outcome of any matter dealt with under the protocol, are not made publicly available. This does not preclude other avenues of accessing information, such as the Freedom of Information process."
Yes, that's true for documents held by Finance. But Mr Gray at some point might let us in on current thinking about issues raised here about entitlements including:

The report of the panel to look at entitlements and related matters established in September last year by then Special Minister of State Ludwig to report within 6 months, which the Government has apparently had since April but is yet to be released.

The unnamed members - surely not anyone holding high office - and senators that the Department of Finance says routinely refuse to certify that payments made to or on their behalf have been properly incurred.

The long silence from governments of all persuasions about the 1995 recommendation by the Australian Law Reform Commission that the Freedom of Information Act be extended to the parliamentary departments that this year will spend $142 million running the place, including payment of some entitlements separate from those paid by Finance. All entitlement payments and expenditure incurred should be published proactively in any event.

And the detail of what the proposed Parliamentary Integrity Commissioner's mandate "to report to parliament on entitlements" will involve.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous6:16 pm

    Sunshine Coast Daily is where Bill Hoffman works.