Statements of Principle

Role of the Auditor-General

The role of the Auditor-General is an important one. Parliament relies on the Auditor-General to provide independent assurance that governmental activities are carried out, and accounted for, consistent with Parliament's intentions.

The role of the Auditor-General in any jurisdiction is based on some common principles which have not always been clearly stated or understood. Those people who can make decisions that might affect the role of the Auditor-General especially need to understand these principles.

This booklet sets out the fundamental principles that underpin the role of every Auditor-General. The booklet should be useful to Members of Parliament, Ministers, policy advisors, and researchers.

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Commercial Confidentiality and the Public Interest

The views set out in this paper were first presented in July 1997 in a Council submission to the Victorian Public Accounts and Estimates Committee Inquiry into Commercial Confidentiality and the Public Interest. That Inquiry was prompted by concern expressed by the Victorian Auditor-General that he was encountering claims that information he wanted to include in reports to Parliament was commercially confidential and sensitive.

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Effective Public Sector Accountability

In this paper the Australasian Council of Auditors-General (ACAG) proposes that certain principles should be considered essential to the effective operation of a public sector accountability regime.

The paper commences with a general discussion on the elements of good governance, of which accountability is one. The discussion on governance draws on material developed by The World Bank and contained in its study titled "Governance: The World Bank's Experience".

The second part of the paper proposes six principles for effective public sector accountability. (In that part, the principles themselves appear in bold italics and the discussion of the principles appear in normal type).

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