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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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‘Stewardship’: buzzword, inkblot, or a new way to deliver human services?

The concept of ‘stewardship’ features in the Productivity Commission’s recent preliminary findings report on human services. Is stewardship just a buzzword, or is it a new way for governments to oversee client choice in the market-based delivery of human services? Or is stewardship an inkblot—a poorly-defined collection of features onto which we project our own interpretations and assume that other stakeholders see what we see? This FlagPost discusses stewardship as it emerges in Australia, with reference to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and other areas of service delivery. Read more...

Reducing Red Tape in the public service 2: legislation

The recent Belcher Red Tape review made 134 recommendations. This second FlagPost on the Red Tape review provides summary information about recommendations likely to require legislative amendments. Read more...

Reducing Red Tape in the public service 1: committees and the Senate

'This needs a sledgehammer,' I declared. 'We must cut through the red tape.' ... Bernard piped up again. 'You can't cut tape with a sledgehammer, it would just...' and then he made a sort of squashing gesture. Rather than Jim Hacker’s sledgehammer in Yes, Minister,  the recommendations of a recent review of Red Tape in the Commonwealth public service evoke the accuracy and precision of a scalpel. The vast majority of the review’s 134 recommendations can be implemented administratively within the public service. However, full implementation of about 10 per cent of the recommendations will require action by the Parliament. This FlagPost provides summary information about recom... Read more...

The Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013—consequential amendments

On 1 July 2014, the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act) will implement a new financial management framework for the Commonwealth and Commonwealth entities. However, implementation of the PGPA framework requires the enactment of five Bills in June. The first of these was passed on 19 June 2014. The remaining four consequential and transitional Bills were introduced on 24 June and passed by the House of Representatives on 25 June. Read more...

Amendments to the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013

Since the report of the National Commission of Audit and the handing down of the government’s Budget 2014‒15, media coverage has highlighted measures that will reduce the number of government bodies and the number of public servants. Less well-known is that, from 1 July 2014, the financial and reporting framework applicable to government bodies will undergo its most comprehensive overhaul since 1998. The foundation of the new framework is the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 (the PGPA Act), which must come into effect on 1 July 2014, replacing the the FMA Act and the the CAC Act. However, implementation of the PGPA framework from 1 July will require the... Read more...

Parliamentary committee scrutiny of the Commonwealth Ombudsman—Private Member’s Bill

   A Private Member’s Bill introduced on 1 November 2011 in the Senate by Australian Greens Senator Bob Brown seeks to bring the operation, functions and resourcing of the Commonwealth Ombudsman under the scrutiny of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. The Commonwealth Ombudsman is an independent statutory office established by the Ombudsman Act 1976 (Cth).The Public Accounts and Audit Committee Amendment (Ombudsman) Bill 2011 follows the resignation of the former Ombudsman, Allan Asher, in late October 2011 over his provision of suggested questions to Australian Greens Senator Sarah Hanson-Young prior to the May 2011 Senate Budget Estimates hearings. In a ... Read more...

Parliamentary Budget Offices

According to research conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) there has been a growing trend towards greater involvement of national legislatures in budgetary matters in order to increase transparency and accountability of budget processes. The OECD's 2007 project, the International Budget Practices and Procedures database, indicated that out of the 97 countries surveyed, 29 countries had a specialised budget research office and 61 did not. In particular, the survey found that more than half of all the countries included in the study had a larger budgetary role than they had a decade earlier.On 23 June 2010, the Coalition announced that it would introdu... Read more...

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