News

Auditor to probe expense claims

Peter Slipper
Peter Slipper Warren Lynam

THE nation's peak auditor may move soon to declare time on the loose use of taxpayer-funded entitlements by members of federal parliament.

Auditor-General Ian McPhee is considering a thorough examination of reforms introduced by the Department of Finance and Deregulation after a 2010 report that criticised the lack of accountability for members' expenditure.

Similar criticism was first raised in a 2001-02 report.

In answer to a series of questions put by the Sunshine Coast Daily, Mr McPhee said the audit would be considered as part of the Australian National Audit Office's schedule of work for the 2012-13 financial year.

If adopted it would include members' entitlements paid through the Department of Finance and potentially other departments.

The Department of the House of Representatives has refused to release details of expenses paid to the Member for Fisher, Peter Slipper (pictured) , during the first half of 2011 when he was Deputy Speaker.

The information was sought after Mr Slipper in January released copies of a Department of Finance report into members' entitlements comparing his expenditure favourably with other MPs.

Mr Slipper consistently has refused to say whether the Finance report represented the total of expenses he claimed from all sources for that period.

Mr McPhee has been frustrated for some time at the failure of the Department of Finance's to improve accountability.

National Audit Report No. 3 (2009-10) found an absence of a consistent approach for specifying the purpose for which an entitlement may be used.

And it found that where purposes were specified the meaning of key terms such as "parliamentary", "electorate" and "party business" had not been articulated.

As a consequence the purpose for which entitlements could be put remained open to what Mr McPhee has previously described as "considerable interpretation".

Absence of the definitions left the Department of Finance with potentially no basis on which to undertake post-payment checks of some entitlements.

The Sunshine Coast Daily has, on several occasions, called for such checks to be made of Mr Slipper's extraordinary expenses after he refused to go through his diary and explain their purpose. He has only ever stated they were for "parliamentary" or "electoral" business.

The Australian National Audit Office first sought a "comprehensive review of the entitlement framework" by the Department Finance and Deregulation following the release of its 2001-02 Audit Report No.5.

Mr McPhee said the review was sought to "strike a better balance between assisting Parliamentarians and accountability for the public funds spent".

At the time Mr Slipper was the Parliamentary Secretary to the Department of Finance.

Topics:  audit, entitlements, peter slipper


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

Our recycling is on the forefront

ECO WARRIORS: Directors of ACT Whitsunday, Jo Pillifeant and Barb Adamson, standing with one of their recognisable blue recycle bins.

ACT Whitsundays is on the verge of closing down.

Revamp improves child safety

SAFETY: Tina Everett, Ron Petterson, Constable Coutney Bellingham and Senior Constable Andy Pratt.

The entry to Cannonval State School is set for a re-vamp.

Sign to strike light into heart of Airlie

AIRLIE'S OWN: The new sign at the Shute Hrabour, Waterson Way roundabout.

Check out the new addition to Airlie Beach.

Local Partners

Resident starts Facebook page to get an Aldi in the region

SHANE Richter has created a Facebook page in the hopes Aldi will open a store in the Mackay/Whitsundays region.

Storks delivers more than bouncing babies

TOO CUTE: A scene from the movie Storks, which is showing at Bowen Summergarden Cinema this week.

Storks hits cinemas this week

Beat the summer heat

COME ENJOY: Anchor Bar head chef Alex Beri and owner Josh Knutson with their delicious soft shell crab with chilli jam aioli and wakame.

Anchor Bar welcomes two new chefs to the team

Our recycling is on the forefront

ECO WARRIORS: Directors of ACT Whitsunday, Jo Pillifeant and Barb Adamson, standing with one of their recognisable blue recycle bins.

ACT Whitsundays is on the verge of closing down.

Revamp improves child safety

SAFETY: Tina Everett, Ron Petterson, Constable Coutney Bellingham and Senior Constable Andy Pratt.

The entry to Cannonval State School is set for a re-vamp.

Sign to strike light into heart of Airlie

AIRLIE'S OWN: The new sign at the Shute Hrabour, Waterson Way roundabout.

Check out the new addition to Airlie Beach.

Deli bounces back

GOOD FOOD: Yvonne and Marino Roberto with their mobile food van.

Marino's are back in action!

Vikings set sail for Proserpine for union carnival

READY: The junior Whitsunday rugby under-12s are ready to do battle in the 'Viking Cup'.

Rugby union's junior carnival will hit Proserpine.

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

Angelina turns to Depp for consolation after divorce

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie with their six children

Angelina Jolie is reportedly being consoled by Johnny Depp

Rockhampton dancer en pointe for European stages

CENTRE STAGE: Anastasia Lewis has moved from Rockhampton to Sydney to study classical ballet.

Rocky dancer believes competitions are the perfect preparation

Conner's food distraction leads to elimination

Australian Survivor contestant Conner Bethune.

HUNGER gets to castaway as Australian Survivor's tribes merge.

Bonus point gets Dan and Carleen over the line on The Block

Dan and Carleen in their winning living and dining rooms in a scene from The Block.

BABY boomers win living and dining week as show hits halfway mark.

Olivia Wilde having a girl

Olivia Wilde revealed she is expecting a baby girl.

Michael Palin: Terry Jones dementia is 'painful' to see

Michael Palin has found Terry Jones' decline "painful to watch"

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.

Rocky proves prime real estate in latest REIQ report

Kas Woch sold this Wood St home in Depot Hill for $107,000 in August.

A new investor's market as Rocky house prices hit lowest in state

Sunshine Beach property breaks real estate record

The property overlooks Sunshine Beach, as the backyard lawn meets the sand.

Sunshine Beach mansion sale smashes real estate record