Posted on: 27 September 2023
The Auditor-General has endorsed Liberal Party legislation that would grant him more power to obtain government documents, backing Peter Malinauskas into a corner as the Bill comes to a vote in the Lower House today.
The Opposition’s Public Finance and Audit (Auditor-General Access to Cabinet Submissions) Amendment Bill 2022 passed the Upper House in May with the full support of the cross bench but was rejected by Labor.
Today’s dreaded vote for Peter Malinauskas comes following the release of the Auditor-General’s report into accessing Cabinet documents.
In it, the Auditor-General says he would have “express authority to request, and expect to receive, Cabinet submissions considered relevant for audit purposes and would be required to comply with provisions for their security and disclosure”.
“Given the current circumstances and legislative arrangements, I support the provisions of the PFAA bill as a way of resolving this long‐standing matter.”
The legislation is in line with similar Bills introduced interstate by other Labor and Liberal governments last year.
It would allow the Auditor-General to gain access to documents without the need for approval from the government of the day or Leader of the Opposition. The legislation will apply retrospectively.
Shadow Treasurer Matt Cowdrey said it’s time for Peter Malinauskas to face Labor’s transparency and accountability problem head on.
“Peter Malinauskas has ducked and dodged transparency at every turn and has desperately tried to trick South Australians into thinking that nothing had changed when it comes to the Auditor-General’s access to Cabinet submissions,” Mr Cowdrey said.
“This extraordinary report from the Auditor-General sensationally dismisses Peter Malinauskas’ claims and unequivocally provides support for the Opposition’s Bill currently before Parliament.
“Peter Malinauskas must pass the Bill today to fix this issue once and for all. If not, he will continue to lead the most secretive government in the state’s history. The question remains, what is he trying to hide from the people of South Australia?
“Transparency in government is a good thing and should be welcomed by all.”