The processes used in the public sector to discharge Parliament’s financial accountability are generally taken-for-granted and often unchallenged. This paper applies Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) to the communication acts of one current parliamentary financial accountability process to provide a critique on its contribution in discharging Parliament’s financial accountability. The research data in this study is an extract from a 2012 Estimates Hearing, which was based on exploring the reasons behind a net $1.4 billion error in the 2011-12 Budget Result of the Australian State Government of New South Wales. This paper demonstrates the value of and importance that CDA contributes in determining the appropriateness of the processes used in the discharge of financial accountability by public sector organisations. The key finding is that one of the main accountability processes, Estimates Hearings, is compromised by participating individuals who distort the actual outcome of the accountability process due to the vested interests of the participants and their use of language and control of the discussion. This study also found that there is no assurance of independence within the committee conducting the hearings, further compromising the possibility of appropriately discharging public sector financial accountability.



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