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Senate scrutiny in jeopardy.

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Senate scrutiny in jeopardy

Media Release | Spokesperson Bob Brown

Monday 29th June 2009, 12:00am


• Democracy & Governance

• Federal System of Governance

• Senate / Senators

• Senate Estimates

The ability of the Senate to properly scrutinise government spending of billions of dollars is in jeopardy,

Australian Greens Leader Bob Brown said today.

"The expenditure of billions of dollars of taxpayers' money is escaping proper Senate scrutiny because new

government programs are being incorrectly included in appropriation bills for the ordinary annual services

of government," Senator Brown said.

The Coalition and Labor voted down a Greens amendment to improve Senate scrutiny this week. Senators

Xenophon and Fielding supported the amendment.

"Successive governments have failed to tackle the problem and it is time that the Senate called a halt to it.

For example, the expenditure on the equine influenza outbreak was listed as part of ordinary annual

services. That is not an ongoing service of government to the people of Australia; that is money that was

expended for a particular one-off matter which arose. That ought to have been brought before the Senate

for separate scrutiny," Senator Brown said.

Senator Brown said the Coalition and Labor, distracted by the ‘ute-gate' affair, failed to support a long

standing bipartisan approach to the issue. However, Senator Brown hopes to talk to other parties over the

winter break so the situation can be rectified when Parliament resumes.