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Flashcards in Chapter 12 Deck (29):

What methods are executive held accountable through?

- IMR and CMR
- Senate estimates
- Senate regulations and ordinances committees
- Auditor general and administrative appeals Tribunal
- judicial review


What is Individual ministerial responsibility

A west minister convention of responsible parliamentary government by which a minister may be held to account by the House of Representatives.
- ind are resp for personal probity and propiety
- and ministers resp for actions of the public service department that is their portfolio

( censure motions limited effectiveness)


Example of accountability through IMR not being upheld?

In 2017, Michalia cash did not resign ,as she has the prime ministers support ,despite having misled albeit unknowingly the senate estimates committee regarding involvement of her staffers in tipping of the media to raids on union officers and didn’t resign.


Issues of individual ministerial responsibility as an executive accountability mechanism?

- rarely pass due to executive dominance
- senate lacks weight of west minister convention and ministers not required to resign
- no legally enforceable reaction
- if pm defends a minister they can protect them from resigning ( inconsistent application Eg. Turnbull supports cash
- ministers able to deflect responsibility onto public service or members of their department
- not completely clear what behaviour would require a minister to resign
- pm can change code of conduct
- whose role is it to enforce?


To what extent does IMR and CMR provide accountability to the executive

to a limited extent.


Define collective ministerial responsibility?

Collective ministerial responsibility is a Westminster convention of responsible parliamentary government by which an entire executive government may be held to account by the House of Representatives, it’s Part of parliaments responsibility function. A motion of no confidence is a motion by which the house withdraws its support from the government, they are almost always defeated on party lines which the government always wins.


Issues of collective ministerial responsibility as an executive accountability mechanism?

limited in its ability to provide accountability as removal of a poorly performing government would require breakdown of party discipline in a governing party of it were to vote against its own government.


How is accountability of the executive upheld through collective ministerial responsibility?

the convention does permits the opposition to suspend the business of the house and provide an opportunity to engage in lengthy attacks towards the government. The attacks may highlight weaknesses, mismanagement and problems within public service and cause government negative public attention


Define senate estimates

They are special sittings of eight legislative/ references committees of the senate that conduct investigations during the budget hearings at which executive spending is examined by parliament.


To what extent does senate estimates uphold accountability of the executive

significant extent


How is accountability of the executive upheld through engage estimates

- The independence of senate and lack of executive dominance give the committee the capacity to make wide range of investigations into all areas of government activity,
- they can call ministers AND public servants to answer any questions relating to the running of their department, including government policy, controversial events and scandals.


How is accountability of the executive upheld through senate estimates ? Example

in 2017 Australian post chairman John Stanhope (2017) was called to appear at An estimates hearing to justify, Australia post boss Ahmed Fahours salary of 6.3 million. Senate estimates were able to review and scrutinise government business, Fahour resigned and the prime minister Malcom Turnbull responded by starting a full review of financial payments in executive departments.


Issues of senate estimates as an executive accountability mechanism?

committee cannot directly call ministers to appear in front of them directly , and ministers can choose to send delegates senators to appear on their behalf, avoiding being personally questioned and scrutinised.


Issues of senate estimates as an executive accountability mechanism? Example

Michaelia cash on may 30th 2017 for example sent, Zed Seselja on her behalf to An estimates hearing. Overall however senate estimates hearings act as an effective means of accountability


To what extent does the senate regulations and ordinances committee provide accountability?

significant extent


Define senate regulations and ordinances committee?

It is a standing committee with the role of supervising how the executive uses its subordinate law making power. In this way the parliament, being the legislature, retains ultimate control over lawmaking.


How is accountability of the executive upheld through senate regulations and ordinances committee

- All subordinate legislation can be disallowed by parliament and is then referred to this committee
- committee tables a weekly report called delegated legislation monitor where it publishes inquiries and recommendations into subordinate legislation.
- They check subordinate legislation for accordance with statues, ensure it doesn’t trespass on personal rights and liberties and that it doesn’t contain matters more appropriate for parliamentary enactment etc.
- delegated legislation monitor includes the disallowances alert, which lists recommendations to the senate to disallow particular regulations, ordinances or instruments.
-Regulations in disallowance alert are debated and voted on in senate. = constant oversight and scrutiny of subordinate legislation, warning of government overreach and quick revocation of government law making power by parliament.


Example of executive accountability being upheld by senate regulations and ordinances committees

On the 25/06/18 Disallowances alert, for example, ‘Australia citizenship amendment (concessional application fees) regulation 2018’ was disallowed by senate


Define auditor general

The Auditor general is an independent officer of parliament responsible for performance and financial reviews as well as assurance audits into public service , other executive agencies and the government. The Auditor general oversees Australian national Audits office(ANAO).


To what extent does the auditor general provide accountability to the executive?



What are the types of audits

performance audits- the way departments carry out day to day business

financial audits- checking financial statements and records of government departments and agencies

assurance audits- ensuring relevant laws standards and guidelines are being adhered to.


How is executive accountability upheld by the auditor general?

-the 3 types of audits

-The auditor general has Bipartisan support

- is an independent officer of Parliament

-ANAO publishes practice guides, newsletters about their role to inform and alert public servants that there is someone to hold them to account for their finances performance and compliance


How is executive accountability upheld by the auditor general? Example

In 2016 -the auditor general was asked to investigate Sophie Mirabella after she made claims during a public media event that her electorate had missed out on $10 million dollars worth of government funding for a hospital, because they did not voting her in at the 2013 election. Inducement s in return for votes are not allowed, and the ability for her to be held accountable for by the auditor general and the ANAO shows that it is a good accountability mechanism.


Define administrative appeals tribunal ?

A tribunal is a dispute resolution body similar to a court, but not capable of exercising judicial power. The administrative appeals tribunal is an example. They are concerned with accountability of public service, by reviewing administrative decisions unlike courts they emphasise fairness, informality, efficiency, timeliness and economy.


How is executive accountability upheld by the AAT?

They help members of the public test, in an independent body, administrative decisions affecting them
- Public service decisions, even after going to AAT, can be taken to court and be subject to judicial review, Writs of mandamus (s75) and injunctions can be issued.
-Cabinet policy, policy made under ministerial discretion, can also be subject to judicial review


How is executive accountability upheld by the AAT? Example?

Kashkooli and minister for immigration and border protection (citizenship) [2016] case Armin Kashkooli, an Iranian granted a refugee visa, was denied citizenship by the Immigration and Citizenship Department as he had committed a crime didn’t write it on his application. After an appeal was launched by the AAT, the tribunal decided to uphold the Department of Immigration’s decision and denied citizenship on the grounds of bad behaviour. Although the decision wasn’t reversed this shows that through the appeals process the decision of the government departments and public servants can be scrutinised and held to account.


Issue of AAT as an executive accountability mechanism?

The Australian appeals tribunal can only review administrative decisions where an act or regulation says it may, which could arguably, be considered a limit however there are over 400 regulations that empower the AAT to decide administrative decisions, so it does have a wide scope of jurisdiction


Define judicial review

Judicial review is the accountability of the parliament and executive to the judicial arm of government, statutes can be interpreted by courts and struck down by the high court if they are ultra vires. Government policy can be declared unlawful if not within the scope of of the law. Executive prerogatives can be declared unconstitutional.


How is executive accountability upheld by the judicial review? Example

In the Plaintiff S99/2016 v minister of immigration and border protection [2016] case an African woman and asylum whilst detained at the Nauru Processing was raped and became pregnant. She could not have an abortion on Nauru because it would have been illegal under Nauru law so the Minister decided to fly her to Papau New Guinea for the the procedure. The Minister involved stated that it would be safe to have the procedure in PNG, however the court ruled that it would not be safe or legal and that the Commonwealth had a duty of care to facilitate a safe and legal abortion, the injunction prevented the abortion taking place in PNG.

-in 2011 when David Manne challenged the governments Malaysian solution arguing that it was unlawful under Act the migration act. The government planned to do a swap with Malaysia taking in 4000 genuine refugees in exchange for 800 asylum seekers, minister Chris Bowen made a comment saying Malaysia was able to provide necessary standard of protection however the high court invalidated this declaration as Malaysia had not signed refugees convention and was not bound by international law to provide sufficient protection to asylum seekers