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:
- press freedom
- census questions
- shark control
- drought relief
- promoting eSafety in schools
- domestic violence
- informal votes in the 2019 federal election
- live animal exports
- drug testing trials
- climate change and coral bleaching
- underpayment of workers’ wages
- preschool and primary school enrolment and attendance
- assistance dogs program for defence veterans
- protests in Hong Kong.