Often known as ‘Senate estimates’—or simply ‘estimates’—the hearings form an important part of Parliament’s work in scrutinising—closely examining—how government agencies are spending taxpayers’ money.
In estimates hearings, ministers and officials from government departments and agencies appear before one of eight Senate committees, and answer questions about where money has been (or will be) spent. Over a week of hearings, a broad range of issues were discussed including:
- upcoming fire season outlooks from the Bureau of Meteorology
- privacy concerns about Facebook
- proposal to move the Australian embassy in Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem
- electronic security of Australia’s electoral systems
- aggressive magpies at Parliament House
- coral bleaching on the Great Barrier Reef
- National Cancer Screening Register
- advertising on the sails of the Sydney Opera House
- live animal exports
- gender pay gap
- Invictus Games
- effect and benefits of inland rail
- mental health services, including funding for Headspace.