Financial accountability: the contribution of Senate Estimates



Publication Details

Bowrey, G., Smark, C. & Watts, T. (2016). Financial accountability: the contribution of Senate Estimates. Australian Journal of Public Administration, 75 (1), 28-38.


One of the key financial accountability processes in the Australian system of government is the Budget Estimates hearings of the Senate Legislation Committees. These Estimates hearings focus on undertaking a detailed examination of the proposed annual expenditure of government departments and authorities outlined in the Appropriation Bills. The hearings also provide participating Senators the opportunity to question senior public sector managers about the delivery of government services. This paper, through the application of content analysis of the Hansard transcripts of a government organization, explores the extent to which the Estimates hearings contribute to the financial accountability process of the Senate Legislation Committees and correspondingly the accountability of Parliament and government. The key findings of this study of the selected Hansards is that the Senate Legislation Committees' Estimates hearings do contribute to the discharge of both Parliament's and the Government's financial accountability.

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