Natural disasters, health concerns and cybersecurity were some of the issues covered during Senate estimates hearings.
Known as ‘Senate estimates’—or simply ‘estimates’—the hearings are an important part of Parliament’s work in examining how the government is 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:
- the government’s response to the Tasmanian bushfires
- domestic violence policy
- support for Indigenous arts and languages
- export permits granted for rare and endangered Australian birds
- the role of the Australian Federal Police and Australian Border Force in relation to the detention of Mr Hakeem al-Araibi in Thailand
- funding for mental health services and aged care
- incentives for the uptake of electrical vehicles
- assistance provided by the Defence Force in the Townsville floods
- a cybersecurity incident in the Parliament
- funding for apprenticeships and traineeships
- opt-outs from My Health Record
- a proposal for Australia’s first offshore wind farm in Victoria
- export of weapons systems to Saudi Arabia.