Labor calls for Senate inquiry

The Labor Opposition expects to announce a full inquiry into the controversial IT outsourcing program by the end of this month following cross-bench support in the Senate.

Negotiations between the Democrats and Labor are under way to determine the terms of reference for the Senate Finance and Public Administration Reference Committee to hold a full and open inquiry into the outsourcing program.

IT Opposition spokesperson Senator Kate Lundy said the inquiry is necessary because the federal government is refusing to guarantee the findings of the review which it announced last week will be made public (CW, November 13, p1).

The findings of the government's review headed by Australian Stock Exchange managing director Richard Humphrey, with Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet secretary Max Moore-Wilton and Department of Finance and Administration secretary Peter Boxall, are due in December.

Senator Lundy said the terms of reference for an open inquiry are still being finalised but will focus on issues raised in the recent Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report.

She said a more transparent method of examining the outsourcing program was required.

Soon after the Minister for Finance and Administration John Fahey announced the review the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU) labelled it a whitewash.

CPSU national president Matthew Reynolds said the scope of the government's review was limited pointing out that Max Moore-Wilton and Peter Boxall are both senior public servants who have been at the forefront of outsourcing government services.

"I'm concerned about the impartiality of the three men undertaking the review; appointments like theirs only strengthen the argument for an open, public inquiry," Reynolds said.

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