Search This Blog

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

MPs and our money still an issue.

B..i..i..i..g fuss in the UK over this move to take MPs expense and allowance payments outside the scope of the Freedom of Information Act, even though the intention is that information about expenditure by each, broken down by sub-heading, will be published in a report by the houses of parliament each year. In the light of past scandals, the concern is over the secrecy that will surround individual items of expenditure. The Campaign for Freedom of Information and others are on the job to try to head this off at the pass.

No big fuss here that the parliament in every Australian jurisdiction- and as a result, all parliament-managed payments to MPs- remain, as they always have, outside the scope of freedom of information legislation.In the Federal arena, this situation continues despite the fact that the Australian Law Reform Commission recommended otherwise in 1995. Doing something about this in Queensland, our most recent and most comprehensive FOI reform, didn't make the cut either.

In NSW only The Greens MP Lee Rhiannon seemed concerned that a wonderfully timed announcement on 22 December by the presiding officers that changes including increased audit of the allowance scheme for MPs won't extend to publication in the annual report of the allowances paid to each member, despite the recommendation in an ICAC sponsored report.

Rhiannon is right to say:
“The key solution to cleaning up MPs allowances is to introduce full transparency. Details of how much public money MPs spend and what they spend it on should be available on the NSW parliamentary website"
By the way in looking at some material on the ICAC website I came across this recommendation in a 2003 report which along with others has not been acted upon:
"That the register of pecuniary interests be established as an electronic database that can be accessed via the Internet by Members of Parliament and members of the public."
It's a long march..

No comments:

Post a Comment