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Wednesday, 11 August 2004
Page: 2101


Ms PLIBERSEK (4:36 PM) —by leave—As the chairman said, we had three major inquiries during the year and two additional reports which looked at our reviews of all of the reports that the Auditor-General provides us with. Our three major inquiries were into the draft financial framework legislation bill. We had quite a number of arguments in the committee about the accounting standards that governments should adopt, and I think it is a credit to the chairman and a credit to the maturity of the committee that we were able to agree in the end on those standards.

We had another inquiry into the management and integrity of electronic information in the Commonwealth and were pretty surprised the day Customs failed to mention to us that people were walking out the door with their computers. But in the end we did manage to produce a very good report that picked up issues of physical security that we had not anticipated in the beginning when we started the report. Our review of aviation security was a fascinating and thorough report. We have another very interesting report coming up on Indigenous law and justice—in particular the access that Indigenous women have to law and justice in this country. The chairman is right in saying that the fact that 31 of our recommendations have been adopted out of 35 that we have received reports on is a credit to the committee. It is a credit to the maturity and the cooperative nature of the committee.

While we have occasionally had differences on issues of policy, there is a great deal of goodwill in the committee, and we all show a commitment to transparency, accountability and efficiency. We sometimes have different views about how things might be interpreted, but it is a credit to the chairman that we have worked in a very consensual way. The member for La Trobe has been a marvellous chairman of the committee. He has emphasised at all times that the committee has worked on a consensus basis for a long time, and I think that his leadership, his willingness to share his experiences—in the private sector before entering the parliament and in his many years as a parliamentarian—including those that he has gained from being the chair of the public accounts committee, and the international recognition that he has achieved in that role, have meant that he has been a very valuable chairman. I wish him and his wife, Rosie, all the best. He will not be rejoining us in the future, after any election. He has made the decision to move on to greener pastures, and I wish him and his family all the best, and I thank him for his years of leadership.