Auditor-General says more public benefit in fixing system than investigating Pansy Wong

14 December 2010

The Auditor-General says that clarifying the rules and administration for spending by MPs and Ministers will do more public good than mounting another inquiry into MP Pansy Wong's travel expenses.

"I have been watching developments closely since the report from the independent inquiry commissioned by the Speaker, and I have actively considered whether to carry out an inquiry into Mrs Wong's travel expenses.

"Irrespective of Mrs Wong's decision to resign from Parliament, I had already decided that further investigation by this Office is not warranted. My decision took into account the Speaker's inquiry and my view of what best serves the public interest at this point," Mrs Provost said.

"Last week, the Law Commission reported on the flaws in the big picture of MPs' spending and, today, I have reported to Parliament on the second part of my inquiry into ministerial expenses. In this report, we conclude that the current system is not a satisfactory basis for providing support to Ministers because there are flaws at each of the levels we examined. The system functions but, cumulatively, the problems are significant.

"It is very clear to me that a flawed system and weaknesses in administration are not helping our MPs and Ministers to spend and account for public money in a way that is open and transparent to everyone.

"For the public to have confidence in Parliament, the system needs to be fixed once and for all."