Page 2639 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 23 June 2009

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provide extra resources to the executive. There have been some extra resources allocated to non-executive members as well.

Following on from Mr Seselja’s discussion on the use of government facilities for party political purposes, we note that in recommendation 1 of the estimates committee report the committee wanted some guidelines around the use of this and processes put in place that would be displayed on websites and that there would be a clear process that everybody could follow. I note that in the government response they have just noted this request. I would sincerely hope that that is followed through with some proper processes and procedures.

I note that they have lodged a submission to the select committee looking at government advertising, but I do not think it is onerous to put these policies or procedures up on a website and to maintain that. It then makes it very clear; it adds a level of transparency and accountability that certainly we would like to see.

Proposed expenditure agreed to.

Proposed expenditure—Part 1.3—Auditor-General, $2,112,000 (net cost of outputs), totalling $2,112,000.

MS LE COUTEUR (Molonglo) (10.40): The Auditor-General is an essential part of the accountability of the executive to the Assembly and to the community. The ACT Auditor-General was created under the Auditor-General Act 1996 to promote accountability and provide independent advice to the ACT Legislative Assembly on the efficiency and effectiveness of ACT public sector agencies.

It reports directly to us, the Assembly, rather than to the executive government, and it is funded separately, which is why we are debating it as a separate line item. These are the sort of arrangements which are normal for auditors-general in other parliaments, because it is recognised that the Auditor-General is an important part of the accountability mechanisms.

Executive accountability is the heart of our system of government and it is built on three parts: separation of powers, parliamentary scrutiny of executive actions, and ministerial responsibility. Most governments, of course, do not welcome scrutiny, although probably all opposition and crossbench members would work to promote it. For the opposition, the crossbench and the independents to effectively scrutinise the government, they must have information. Of course, there are a variety of ways that we can get information—questions on notice, questions without notice, annual reports and their associated hearings, budgets and the estimates hearings, freedom of information, and parliamentary committees.

All of these have an important role to play, but you will be glad to hear that I do not intend to bore you all by going on about them here. What I am going to go on about is the role of the Auditor-General, because it is a very important part of the accountability mechanisms.

The Auditor-General has a number of functions. Firstly, the Auditor-General is the Auditor-General of the various public sector organisations. It does the financial

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