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Friday, June 29, 2012

Sun shines on parliamentarians' expenditure

Yan Zhang
In cold, wintry Canberra (not pictured) at least.

The Department of Finance and Deregulation has published reports of expenditure against entitlements it administers for parliamentarians and former parliamentarians, and overseas study travel reports, this batch for the period July to December 2011.

For those still looking for evidence that transparency can be a useful compliance tool, proof in the form of the associated list of certifications that expenditure was properly incurred, consistent with the rules.  Almost a full house with just a handful of exceptions including Minister Senator Conroy and Bob Katter MP.  When Finance commenced this publication practice in January the list of non-certfiers for the relevant period extended to 100 names, dropping quickly thereafter. (I'm still wondering why certification is voluntary.)

On the related issue of information on payments by the parliamentary departments (none pro-actively published to date) and the comment by Attorney General Roxon's spokesman that FOI coverage was an anomaly that needed fixing, not a word said or question raised in parliament in this session, and they've now packed up for the six week winter recess. A sign things should stay as they are?

Contrast sunny Canberra with the states-a dark subject I'm warming to, hopefully next week.

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