Accountability function

  • In general, accountability is about money. The government and the public service must account for all the money given to them to ensure that the money was used for the purpose intended.
  • For example, if the Defence department is given $1 million to maintain a barracks, but only $ 900 000 is used, and the other 100 000 has gone missing, the department and the Minister will be held accountable.
  • Thus, the Parliament must examine all forms of government expenditure to ensure that no misappropriation of funds has occurred. The main way in they do this is through the Estimates Committee (see Committees subpage).
  • For example, some of the most common instances for misappropriation are travel rorting, when a member falsely claims travel expenses from the government.

Sports Rort (Whiteboard Affair)

  • Ros Kelly, the Minister for Sports in the 1990s was forced to resign because of the Estimates Committee’s investigation into her department.
  • When they asked her about what she did with the money the government allocated to the government, she answered rightly – all money had been accounted for.
  • However, when pressed further, it was revealed that no paperwork was kept: cheques that needed to be issued were written on a whiteboard and erased when written.
  • She resigned due to these non-accountable actions of a Minister allocating public funds in 1994.

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