Asia & the Pacific | Building Regional Networks for Parliamentary Oversight
2013 ACPAC Conference | Sydney | 11-12 April
The twelfth conference of the Australasian Council of Public Accounts Committees (ACPAC) was held at the New South Wales Parliament on 11 and 12 April 2013. The Conference, which is held every two years, is an opportunity for members of parliamentary public accounts committees (PACs) from Australia and the Asia-Pacific region to come together to share experiences on the challenges involved in seeking to hold government and its agencies to account for the management of public resources.
CDI has frequently been involved in ACPAC conferences, seeing them as a chance to encourage PAC members from regional parliaments to meet with Australian State and Territory counterparts and, importantly, with each other. On this occasion CDI sponsored the participation of PAC members and staff from the following parliaments:
|REPUBLIC OF INDONESIA
State Finance Accountability Committee (BAKN, DPR RI)
Dr Sumarjati Arjoso SKM, Chairperson
Mr Teguh Juwarno M.Si, MP
Dr Eddy Rasyidin, Expert Staff
Mr Aisake Eke MP, PAC Chairman
Mr Mo’ale Finau MP, PAC Member
|AUTONOMOUS REGION OF BOUGAINVILLE
Hon Cosmas Sohia MP, PAC Chair
Mr Douglas Pisi, PAC Secretary
Mr John Path, Auditor-General & PAC Secretary
Mrs Stephanie Mailesi, Parliamentary Official
In addition, CDI Deputy Director Grant Harrison was invited to present a session on the particular challenges facing PACs in emerging democracies. Dr Stephen Sherlock, CDI’s Director, chaired the session.
Mr Harrison began by noting that it can take time for accountability processes to be understood and accepted, both within parliaments and within governments. He went on to outline some of the characteristics of an effective public accounts committee and to invite participants to discuss the challenges they face in fulfilling their scrutiny and oversight responsibilities. He concluded by presenting some practical advice on how PACs can hold public sector agencies to account, focussing on:
- how to prioritise and select topics of interest and importance
- how to ask questions at public hearings
- how to prepare clear reports to persuade agencies and governments to take action.
Mr Harrison also mentioned the steps being taken by some Pacific PACs to initiate a Pacific Network of PACs – intended to be a self-directed learning network where PAC members and staff from across the Pacific share knowledge and build capacity in a community of practice. The chair of the working group appointed to initiate the Network (Mr Aisake Eke, Chair of the Tongan Parliament’s PAC) was in the audience and briefed participants more fully about these developments. For further information, follow the link below.
Representatives from the Indonesian Parliament’s accountability committees, the DPR’s BAKN and the DPD’s Public Accountability Committee (PAP), were particularly active participants in the discussion sessions, welcoming the opportunity to consider how to improve the oversight performance of their committees. The members and staff from these committees had not previously met and being able to facilitate these discussions was one of the unexpected impacts of CDI’s involvement with ACPAC. These discussions were also a useful way of continuing recent program development conversations being conducted in Jakarta by CDI Associate Paul Rowland and Researcher Grace Hutasoit – see the link below for more information.
Click on the links below to access more detail on ACPAC 2013 and related CDI work: