External scrutiny

The department’s operations are primarily administrative and are therefore not usually subject to formal external scrutiny.

Reports by the Auditor-General, the Commonwealth Ombudsman or parliamentary committees

The Auditor-General did not table any reports directly relating to the administration of the department or its operations. The Australian National Audit Office provided an unqualified audit report on the department’s 2015–16 financial statements.

There were no investigations by the Commonwealth Ombudsman in 2016–17 that involved the department.

During the reporting year, the Clerk contributed to or made submissions, and/or provided evidence, to:

  • the Queensland Legislative Assembly’s Committee of the Legislative Assembly’s inquiry into powers, rights and immunities of members of parliament
  • the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade’s foreign policy white paper
  • the New South Wales Legislative Council’s Procedure Committee’s inquiry into the rules for questions
  • the New South Wales Legislative Council’s Procedure Committee’s inquiry into rules for notices of motion
  • the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Publications’ review of parliamentary printing standards
  • the Senate Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee’s inquiry into the Parliamentary Business Resources Bill 2017 and the Parliamentary Business Resources (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2017
  • the New South Wales Legislative Council’s Procedure Committee’s inquiry into e-petitions
  • the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Corporations and Financial Services’ inquiry into whistleblower protections
  • the Senate Select Committee on a National Integrity Commission’s inquiry into the establishment of a national integrity commission.

The department continued to support the Standing Committee on Appropriations and Administration’s consideration of the department’s funding requirements and budget position. During 2016–17 the committee met three times and tabled two reports: Report no. 12: Annual report 2015–16 and Report no. 13: Budget estimates 2017–18. In the budget estimates report, the committee noted that the department was allocated supplementary funding of $12.4 million over four years, commencing in 2017–18. The supplementary funding will be used to reinforce the department’s procedural capacity and to provide additional support for the parliamentary committees administered by the department.

Judicial and administrative decisions

No judicial decisions or decisions of administrative tribunals or the Australian Information Commissioner during 2016–17 had, or are anticipated to have, a significant effect on the operations of the department.

Freedom of information

The department is excluded from the application of the Freedom of Information Act 1982, under section 68A of the Parliamentary Service Act.

Disability reporting mechanisms

The National Disability Strategy 2010–2020 sets out a 10-year national policy framework to improve the lives of people with disability, promote participation and create a more inclusive society. A high-level two-yearly report will track progress against each of the six outcome areas of the strategy and present a picture of how people with disability are faring. The first of those reports, Progress report to the Council of Australian Governments 2014, can be found at www.dss.gov.au.

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