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MEDIA RELEASE - BILL SHORTEN REFUSES TO ANSWER HUNDREDS OF SENATE ESTIMATES QUESTIONS – AGAIN
PAUL FLETCHER MP
Shadow Minister for Science and the Arts
Shadow Minister for Government Services and the Digital Economy
Manager of Opposition Business in the House
21 December 2023
BILL SHORTEN’S MYGOV USER AUDIT RESPONSE TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE
For the fourth time in a row, Government Services Minister Bill Shorten has failed to return hundreds of Questions on Notice asked of him and his agency Services Australia during Senate Estimates by the due date.
The Community Affairs Committee ordered that answers to Questions on Notice be returned by 15 December 2023 - but of the 362 questions asked, nil have been answered.
Shadow Minister for Government Services Paul Fletcher said the abysmal response demonstrates a lack of respect from Bill Shorten towards the Australian people.
“Mr Shorten is treating Australians like fools. Services Australia is an embattled agency and the least he can do is offer answers to questions that are in the public interest,” Mr Fletcher said.
“It’s little wonder Bill Shorten is ducking for cover because under his leadership, customer service outcomes are in freefall at Services Australia: wait times are up and customer satisfaction is down.
“There’s no excuse – complying with parliamentary processes and deadlines is not optional. Ignoring them undermines the community’s confidence in our institutions.
“It was only a month ago that Senators made the extraordinary decision to recall Services Australia officials back to Senate Estimates because they had manifestly failed to answer basic questions.
“This disturbing pattern of behaviour from Bill Shorten extends to his treatment of lawful Freedom of Information requests.
“Earlier this year, I lodged an FOI request that was refused because Mr Shorten’s office failed to engage with consultation requests. The matter is now being investigated by the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner.”
Mr Fletcher said 4,441 Questions on Notice remain unanswered from across government as at 20 December.
“Anthony Albanese must explain why his government is ducking for cover and doing everything it can to avoid transparency and scrutiny,” Mr Fletcher said.
Media contact: William Sparling | 0416 628 276 | [email protected]