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Tuesday, 21 June 2011
Page: 6791


Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (Mackellar) (17:46): Thank you for those non-answers, Parliamentary Secretary Dreyfus. I see that we are going to continue in this vein. I would ask you then the specific questions that I asked to be taken on notice and that you let me have them as soon as possible. I will try one more specific question. Considering the deal that your government is proposing with Malaysia, with the disgraceful trade in human flesh, whereby Australia sends one person to Malaysia to be either tagged or subject to Malaysian law and birchings, and we in return will receive five refugees who have been approved by the Malaysian government, does the $900 cover the costs of the Ombudsman scrutinising each one of those exchanges, those vile exchanges? If so, when will he be reporting upon them? Is that part of the government's overall plan? That is question No.1.

Question No. 2 for this section. I want to now turn to the Australian National Audit Office where there is outlined an expenditure of nearly $2 million to be spent on conducting a financial statement audit of the National Broadband Network and the NBN Tasmania between 1 April 2011 and 30 October 2013. I note that there is no confidentiality clause in the contract despite the government repeatedly making the excuse that much of the NBN's activities are commercial-in-confidence and that any scrutiny of this $50 billion project is impossible. In light of those things, is the audit which is to be conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers a comprehensive audit and will its cover all income and expenditure aspects of the NBN and NBN Tasmania? That is question 2(a).

Question 2(b) is: will the audited financial statement be published? 2(c), if so, how often will the audited financial statements be published and, if they are not to be published, why not? 2(d), how regularly will financial statements be audited and how often will the government receive audited financial statements from the auditors, PricewaterhouseCoopers? Are you aware of any other companies who have been asked to conduct an audit of the NBN? And what audits of financial statements of the NBN had been conducted to date? At what cost would these audits have been done? Will the cost of the audit be included in the overall cost of the NBN, which, the best we can guess is likely to be $50 billion? They are very specific questions and if the parliamentary secretary is unable to answer those specific questions, I would simply ask him to take them on notice and reply in that way or, if he has specific information, I would very pleased to receive it.