Elferink rejects “gagging” claim

Attorney General John Elferink (pictured) has rejected Opposition claims that the Government had “gagged” Auditor General Frank McGuinness and says Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Michael Gunner, had “removed himself from the domain of rational debate” by using emotive language in a media release last week.
Mr Elferink says not only is the Government unable to gag the Auditor General – he reports to the Parliament – but it had been ready to answer all questions from the Opposition.
Preparations for the Estimate Hearings, which stated today, usually cost $2.4m, he says.
In order to avoid this “horrendous waste of money at a time of a huge deficit” the Government had asked the Opposition to provide questions in advance.
When it did not the Government told Mr McGuinness he was not required. The same was the case with the Ombudsman – who also reports to Parliament, not the Government.
Mr Elferink says: “The Opposition provided no questions and so we concluded they did not have any.”

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