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Charter of Budget Honesty Amendment Bill 2011

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2011

 

 

 

THE PARLIAMENT OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

 

 

 

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charter of Budget Honesty Amendment Bill 2011

 

 

 

EXPLANATORY MEMORANDUM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Circulated by authority of

JOE HOCKEY



Charter of Budget Honesty Amendment Bill 2011

 

OUTLINE

 

The Charter of Budget Honesty Act (1998) was intended to produce better fiscal outcomes through institutional arrangements to improve the formulation and reporting of fiscal policy.

 

A key element of the Charter were arrangements for more equal access to Treasury and Finance costings of election commitments by the Government and Opposition.

 

One shortcoming of these arrangements for the Opposition is that they require the agreement of the Prime Minister for Opposition costings to be submitted to the Departments of the Treasury and Finance.

 

They also require the public release of the costing of a policy which has been submitted.

 

These arrangements create an environment where costings are not confidential and cannot be challenged or reviewed prior to being made public.

 

The Coalition has introduced the Parliamentary Budget Office Bill 2011 which seeks to establish an independent statutory authority which will provide objective and impartial advice and analysis on:

 

·          The Commonwealth Budget and budget cycle;

·          Medium and long-term budget projections;

·          The costs of policy proposals; and

·          Other matters as requested by Members and Senators.

 

The policy costing function of the PBO will differ from that in the Charter of Budget Honesty.  Requests by non government MPs or Senators for policies to be costed will not require the agreement of the Prime Minister.  Further, the costings will be confidential as they will not be able to be released to the public without the express approval of the relevant MP or Senator. 

 

The costings provision in the PBO will supersede and make redundant the comparable provision in the Charter of Budget Honesty. 

 

The Charter of Budget Honesty Amendment Bill 2011 removes the redundant provisions from the Charter of Budget Honesty.

 

FINANCIAL IMPACT

 

This Bill will have no financial impact.

 

NOTES ON CLAUSES

 

Clause 1 removes the definition of the Leader of the Opposition.  This definition will become redundant once the provisions relating to costings for the opposition are removed from the Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998.

 

Clause 2 removes the provision for the Leader of the Opposition to request the Departments of Treasury and Finance to cost opposition policies.  This service becomes redundant under the Parliamentary Budget Office Bill 2011.

 

Clause 3 removes subclause 29(4) from the Charter of Budget Honesty which provides for the Leader of the Opposition to request the Prime Minister to refer policies for costing.  It also removes subclause 29(3) from the Charter of Budget Honesty which essentially replicates the new subclause 29(1) and is redundant.

 

Clause 4 removes the reference to the Leader of the Opposition from the provision which provides for costing requests which have been made to be withdrawn.

 

Clause 5 removes a redundant reference to the Leader of the Opposition.

 

Clause 6 corrects a reference to the withdrawal of a costing request in subclause 31(1) Note 2.