Chapter 19 - Relations with the executive government

Questions concerning statutory authorities

As has been noted, one of the fundamental rules of questions is that a minister may be asked only about matters for which the minister is officially responsible. As statutory authorities frequently operate with considerable autonomy, the question arises of the extent to which a minister can be expected to answer questions of detail concerning their activities, especially in relation to those authorities operating commercially (SD, 28/8/1968, p. 367; 30/3/1971, p. 604). No ruling has been given from the chair, nor pronouncement of policy made by government, regarding questions relating to statutory authorities. It is now the practice for questions about such bodies to be directed to the relevant minister or the minister representing the relevant minister. The information sought is usually supplied.

For declarations by the Senate concerning accountability of statutory bodies, see above, under Statutory authorities and public interest immunity.

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