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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Lack of inquisitiveness in Canberra about parliamentarians' entitlements

Who's surprised?

Questions asked in Senate Estimates of the Department of the Senate and Department of Parliamentary Services about accountability and transparency of payments to and on behalf of parliamentarians, about the many recommendations for reform in the Belcher committee report commissioned two and a half years ago and released in April last year that have received no response from the government or parliament to date, or about the implications arising from the surprise recent news from the Australian Information Commissioner that both departments are subject to the Freedom of Information Act despite years of denials:

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Questions asked in Estimates of the Department of Finance and Deregulation about anything to do with parliamentarians' entitlements administered by that department, or the Belcher reform proposals, or for any explanation offered by 52 members, senators and former parliamentarians (including Senator Conroy, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey to name just three) who have still not certified that their entitlements usage for January to June 2011, the first period covered by the decision to publish certification information, was in accordance with the provisions legislated for each entitlement. Or even more puzzling, why certification of proper use should remain "voluntary" :

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