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Reform of parliamentary entitlements.



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Media Release

35/2009 8 September 2009

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) today tabled a performance audit of the administration of Parliamentarians’ entitlements by the Department of Finance and Deregulation.

Among other findings, the report is heavily critical of the use of printing entitlement, in particular finding:

…an entitlements framework that is complex and overdue for reform has led to…the printing of a significant number of items at risk of being outside of the Printing Entitlement…1

and

…the shortcomings in the entitlements framework have been exacerbated by the approach taken to its administration.2

The report follows a similar audit into parliamentarians entitlements conducted by the Auditor-General in 2001/02.

Senator Ludwig today welcomed the findings of the Auditor-General and announced major reforms to the parliamentary entitlements system.

"The Rudd Government has accepted all of the Auditor-General’s recommendations,” Senator Ludwig said.

"I am announcing a raft of reform measures that will reduce cost and increase transparency of the parliamentary entitlements system.”

"These reforms will build on the cut to printing entitlements from $150,000 to $100,000 for Members that the Rudd Government implemented on its election.”

The Government’s reforms will be in two stages. The first stage, effective 1 October 2009, includes:

z a further 25% cut to the current printing entitlement, from $100,000 to $75,000 per annum for

Members and $16,667 to $12,500 for Senators (this is in addition to the 33% cut by the Rudd Government when elected to office);

z ending the use of printing entitlements for electioneering such as printing how to vote cards;

z capping, for the first time, expenditure by MPs on office consumables such as toner and

paper;

z combining the current printing and communications allowance entitlements into a single

entitlement;

Reform of parliamentary entitlements

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z establishing a rigorous vetting and checking system within the Department of Finance to

ensure the material Members and Senators print is within entitlement;

z reforming the current newspapers and periodicals allowance; and

z expanding the current reporting system to publish all expenditure of Senators, Members,

former Parliamentarians, family members and employees, of entitlements administered by the Department of Finance and Deregulation.

"In addition, today I have referred other matters to an independent panel to report within six months,” Senator Ludwig said.

The independent panel will be made up of the following distinguished former and current public servants: Barbara Belcher, former First Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (Chair); John Conde AO, President of the Remuneration Tribunal; Jan Mason, General Manager of Corporate and Parliamentary Services of the Department of Finance and Deregulation; and Prof Allan Fels AO, former ACCC Commissioner and current Dean of the Australian New Zealand School of Government.

"This panel will trace out the path for the next stage of reform and I look forward to receiving their report in six months.”

"We are committed to reform, openness and transparency to ensure that we maintain the trust and confidence of the Australian people,” Senator Ludwig said.

1 ANAO Report No.3 2009/10 Summary at 55.

2 Ibid at 52.

Last Updated: 8 September, 2009

Media Contact: Website:

Sarah Cosson - 0423 823 843 or (02) 6277 7600 www.cabinetsecretary.gov.au

www.smos.gov.au

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