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Monday, 4 June 1984
Page: 2444


Senator GRIMES (Minister for Social Security)(5.54) —During the second reading debate on the Audit Amendment Bill, criticism was made of the Government 's proposal to appoint Mr John Monaghan as Auditor-General. This criticism was made specifically by Senator Watson, who referred to the fact that Mr Monaghan was an economist and not an accountant. While it is true Mr Monaghan does not have formal accounting qualifications, he has had considerable relevant experience as a Division head in the Department of the Treasury and the Department of Finance, as a deputy secretary in the Department of Resources and Energy and as a commissioner on the Public Service Board.

All this experience has given him a wide understanding of government and of Public Service processes. He is also widely respected in the Service and in the accountancy profession. Moreover, the role of the Auditor-General these days is not a simple bookkeeping function as it once certainly used to be. It extends to looking at the efficiency with which programs are run. Experience such as Mr Monaghan's is exactly right, given such developments as have happened in the Public Service in recent years, and for that reason we reject the criticism made by Senator Watson.