Fallacies around the Auditor-General’s Report

Legal Beagle Junior at Sir H’s rebuts some fallacies so well, I’m stealing them below:

Proposition: Kevin Brady has adopted a definition of electioneering that means just about everything an MP does with his or her Parliamentary funds is illegal.

False: As the Auditor-General points out in his report:

“Clause 46(3)(d) of the Speaker’s Directions specifically prohibits electioneering advertising. It is clear that this prohibition does not apply to other activities undertaken by MPs

Proposition: Just about everything an MP does is electioneering.

False: For something to be ‘electioneering’ under the Auditor-General’s interpretation it must have a “direct bearing” on an election. If there’s not an election in the offing what they’re doing ain’t electioneering.

Proposition: The Auditor-General’s report indicates that millions of dollars has been mis-spent since 1989 and all of this spending needs to be validated.

False: The Auditor-General, as Labour has repeatedly pointed out, has already signed off on the annual accounts from 89/90, 90/91, 91/92, 92/93, 93/94, 94/95, 95/96, 96/97, 97/98, 98/99, 99/00, 00/01, 01/02, 02/03, and 03/04 – so there is nothing illegal to validate.

LBJ in a different post also highlights there are criminal penalties for breaching the Public Finance Act. He wonders aloud whether H2 could be found to have broken it when she wrote an order to The Parliamentary Service instructing them to pay for the pledge card, despite their obvious reluctance. An interesting thought. Now will the validating legislation prevent legal action under the Act?

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