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Thursday, 8 December 1983
Page: 3464


Senator GEORGES —I present the 216th report of the Joint Parliamentary Committee of Public Accounts which is the annual report 1982-83.

Ordered that the report be printed.


Senator GEORGES —I seek leave to have a short statement incorporated in Hansard.

Leave granted.

The statement read as follows-

The 216th report is the annual report for 1982-83 of the Joint parliamentary Committee of Public Accounts. It contains a review of the inquiries conducted by the Committee during the year and issues arising from our investigations and other matters which the Committee regards as significant in its development. 1982-83 witnessed a number of changes for the Public Accounts Committee. The thirteenth Committee ceased when Parliament was dissolved on 5 February 1983. The fourteenth Committee was appointed following the election and held its first meeting on 11 May 1983. The administration of the Committee secretariat was transferred from Joint House Department to the House of Representatives in December 1982.

Throughout 1982-83 the Committee has continued to maintain an extensive program of inquiries and research. It tabled four reports on significant public sector management issues such as 'The Form and Standard of Financial Statements for Commonwealth Undertakings', 'Administration of Bilateral Overseas Aid', 'The Selection and Development of Senior Managers in the Commonwealth Public Service' and the 'Medical Fraud and Overservicing Progress Report'. The growth of government activities, the creation of statutory authorities, and the public's demand for more financial and other information has meant that new and additional means of financial measurement and communication need to be derived. The committee fully supports efforts to increase the consistent application of relevant accounting methods so that financial reporting in the public sector will better serve the community.

This is the fourteenth Public Accounts Committee since its re-establishment in 1951. The success of the Committee, which I have the privilege to chair has been built on the solid foundation laid over the past three decades by successive chairmen, members of the Committee and staff as well as by its official observers and advisers. I would like especially to pay tribute to my colleague, the honourable member for Bradfield Mr David Connolly, who was, until Parliament was dissolved for the election earlier this year, Chairman of the thirteenth Public Accounts Committee. Mr Connolly became a member of the tenth Committee in 1974 and its Chairman from the establishment of the eleventh Committee in 1976. Only the distinguished emeritus professor F. A. Bland, MP, served the Committee for a longer period, I am sure that in the future, Mr Connolly's chairmanship will be regarded as having a profound influence on public administration in the Commonwealth. However all who have been associated with the Committee have contributed to the building of a significant mechanism for effective parliamentary review.

The Committee wishes to record its appreciation to its secretary, permanent and seconded staff and its advisors for their excellent work throughout the year. In addition, the Committee wishes to thank officers from the Department of Finance, the Public Service Board and the Auditor-General's Office who have continued to provide advice and assistance as observers for all our inquiries. We are also appreciative of the work done by the Principal Parliamentary Reporter and his staff for their valuable assistance and other officers of the parliamentary departments who have supported the Committee in its activities. Copies of this report will not be available for general distribution until Friday 9 December 1983. However copies are held by the Parliamentary Library. I commend the Report to honourable senators.


Senator GEORGES —by leave-I believe I should speak to the last part of the statement. The success of the Committee, which I have the privilege to chair, has been built on the solid foundation laid over the past three decades by successive chairpersons, members of the Committee and staff as well as by its official observers and advisers. I would like especially to pay tribute to my colleague, the honourable member for Bradfield, Mr David Connolly, who was, until Parliament was dissolved for the election earlier this year, Chairman of the thirteenth Public Accounts Committee. Mr Connolly became a member of the tenth Committee in 1974 and its Chairman from the establishment of the eleventh Committee in 1976. Only the distinguished Professor F. A. Bland, MP, served the Committee for a longer period. I am sure that in the future, Mr Connolly's chairmanship will be regarded as having a profound influence on public administration in the Commonwealth. However, all who have been associated with the Committee have contributed to the building of a significant mechanism for effective parliamentary review.

The Committee wishes to record its appreciation to its Secretary, permanent and seconded staff and its advisors for their excellent work throughout the year. In addition, the Committee wishes to thank officers from the Department of Finance, the Public Service Board and the Auditor-General's Office who have continued to provide advice and assistance as observers for all our inquiries. We are also appreciative of the work done by the Principal Parliamentary Reporter and his staff and for their valuable assistance, and other officers of the parliamentary departments who have supported the Committee in its activities.

Mr Deputy President, as you are aware the Public Accounts Committee has placed reports before the Senate on almost every sitting day for this session. One must appreciate the tremendous work that Committee members have done and the difficulties which they have had and, if at some time we may have offended the Standing Orders of the Senate, it would have been done I would say with good purpose. Copies of this report are not yet available for distribution, which brings me to the point that we must also thank the Government Printer for the assistance he has given to the Committee in preparing and printing the reports and having them ready for distribution. On this occasion I can only say that the main distribution will not take place until Friday, 9 December; but, in the meantime, copies of the report can be obtained from the Parliamentary Library. I commend the report to honourable senators.