Revelations today of a secret manual distributed by the Prime Minister’s Office to departments instructing them how to avoid answering questions from the Senate is a new low from the Albanese Labor Government.


Scrutiny of the government through Senate estimates is a foundation of our parliament and democracy, and is recognised as a major institution of accountability.


The value of estimates hearings in providing accountability and integrity of government is clearly missed by the Albanese Labor Government who will do anything to ensure they aren’t held to account.


Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator Simon Birmingham said the extracts published from the secret manual demonstrate clear acts of contempt for the Senate and break Prime Minister Albanese’s promises for greater transparency and accountability.


“The Prime Minister has serious questions to answer about this document as to whether he has seen it, did he approve it and to whom has his office distributed it to,” Senator Birmingham said.


“This move by the Labor Government is a new low and shows flagrant disregard for the Senate, the practices of Australia’s parliament and the rights of Australians to see their government held to account.


“For anyone to believe the creation of this manual clever would be sorely mistaken. The Prime Minister and his office should consider the repercussions of attempting to distort the procedures of a democratic parliament.


“I fully expect the Senate to demand answers in regard to the flagrant demonstration of contempt.


“Prime Minister Albanese would be wise to retract this document and transparently answer questions – avoiding doing so would only be endorsing its contents.”