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. A broad range of issues were discussed including:
- investing in projects to encourage electric vehicles
- penalties for social media companies that broadcast violent content
- preparations for the 2019 federal election
- funding for mental health services, including eating disorders
- cybersecurity and counter-terrorism
- funding for road safety programs
- heat stress on animals in live export
- Budget cuts to foreign aid
- effects of the Queensland floods
- programs to support small business
- costs involved in cancer treatments
- early childhood education.