Monday, 11 September 2023
Consideration by Estimates Committees
I'm able to update Senator Ruston on those matters. I understand that those three questions are still with the department and have not been received by the minister's office at this stage. They are being chased. On all the other matters, answers that I think were outlined to my office earlier have been tabled and emailed to Senator Ruston's office. Senator Ruston didn't refer to those, but a number have come through today.
Our government have received 2,573 parliamentary questions on notice in the Senate and has answered 97.5 per cent of them. We've also received 19,000 estimates questions on notice and have answered 93 per cent of them, with all answers submitted from October 2022 and all but one from February. Parliamentary questions on notice have increased from an average of less than 1,000 per year from 2016 to 2020 to 2,200 in the first year of the Albanese government. Senate estimates questions on notice have increased from 11,700 in 2017 to 2019 to more than 18,000 in the first year of the Albanese government. The Morrison government had nearly 1,000 unanswered questions on notice when it left government, some dating back to October 2019, and many Morrison government ministers returned answers from the previous round of estimates while the next round was underway.
In short, we are doing everything we can to answer the questions that senators have asked, but departments essentially have been inundated with questions and are working through them. I think those statistics, particularly the fact that we've answered 97.5 per cent of parliamentary questions and 93 per cent of all estimates questions—19,000 of them—shows how seriously we take the issue of transparency and accountability to the parliament.