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Unmasking Austerity

February 16th, 2014

I’ll be at Unmasking Austerity in Adelaide on Tuesday. I’m going to talk about Commissions of Audit and the following question occurred to me.

Have such Commissions ever achieved anything of the kind you might expect from auditors, that is, detecting and fixing Fraud, Inefficiency and Waste? In this context, I’m not interested in proposals to kill government programs the Commissioners don’t like, privatise public assets, contract out public sector work and so on. I am interested in work showing that public programs are being defrauded and proposing checks that would fix the problem, cases of duplication between agencies and levels of government that can be fixed with substantial savings, cases where governments are wasting money by paying obviously excessive prices for services etc.

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  1. Fran Barlow
    February 18th, 2014 at 14:54 | #1

    @Tim Macknay

    It’s the right decision, whoever gets the most out of it.

  2. Tim Macknay
    February 18th, 2014 at 15:05 | #2

    @Fran Barlow
    I agree. It’s an issue that should be resolved by the voters. Personally, I hope the result leads to a Senate less likely to support the abolition of the carbon price, the watering down of the RET, and other retrograde policies. But time will tell.

  3. Fran Barlow
    February 18th, 2014 at 15:46 | #3

    @Tim Macknay

    I’m not going to argue with that. If some “buyers’ remorse” creeps in, then that’s a good thing.

  4. Tim Macknay
    February 18th, 2014 at 16:06 | #4

    The Court’s reasoning is here. Money quote: “The only relief appropriate is for the election to be declared void.”

  5. paul walter
    February 18th, 2014 at 19:41 | #5

    Changing the subject, I hope the Dunstan Foundation’s promise of an upcoming video come s off better than the streaming thing.

  6. Tim Macknay
    February 20th, 2014 at 11:54 | #6

    Sorry Paul – just coming back to the Court of Disputed Returns again – the WA Senate election results have been declared void. There will be a new WA Senate election.

  7. Michael Lanky
    February 21st, 2014 at 14:26 | #7

    John, re your question on paying excessive prices, I wonder if it’s more an issue of measuring the cost of probity to public organisations?
    When I make purchases, I can’t go out and find the best price easily. I either need to purchase from a list of authorised suppliers or go to tender. The tendering process is slow and only allows you to select from those that apply for the tender. I think that purchasing from a list of approved suppliers also prevents me from certain avenues for finding the best price.

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