The Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit has resolved to order Mr John Margerison to:
- produce all documents requested as relevant to the inquiry in the questions issued to him on 26 April 2023 and provide full responses to all questions, by 12 pm 21 July 2023, as despite repeated requests, answers and documents have not been forthcoming, and
- appear at a hearing before the Committee on 28 July 2023 unless advised otherwise.
In the interests of transparency, the Committee has further resolved to:
- publish a submission in the form of a signed statement provided by Mr Anthony Daly to the Committee
- write to people named in Mr Daly’s statement inviting their response by 12pm 24 July
- issue a public reminder that witnesses before Committees are protected with respect to evidence given by the law of Parliamentary privilege and that interfering with or harassing witnesses in any way may be regarded as a contempt of the Parliament, and
- authorise the Chair to issue public statements relating to these actions and the Committee’s ongoing inquiry.
The Committee has received a number of submissions and last week held an in-camera hearing with evidence given under oath by Mr Anthony Daly, as well as a public hearing with Infosys, a client of Synergy 360.
In Friday’s hearing the Committee heard that Infosys paid Synergy 360 in the order of $16 million over 5 years for State and Federal linked projects including retainers, ‘success fees’ and ‘business development’ work, and held 11 meetings with former Minister Stuart Robert to discuss major projects and digital transformation sometimes without public servants present. The Committee has requested further evidence from Infosys on a number of matters.
This inquiry was established as revelations from public hearings raised serious concerns regarding the expenditure of public funds in the NDIA and Services Australia under the previous government, as well as the conduct of parties associated with these procurements.
The Chair of the Committee Julian Hill MP said ‘The Committee considers that these are the appropriate next steps in the public interest, given the importance of examining the serious questions arising from the Watt Report into Procurement at Services Australia and the NDIA. The Taskforce and Dr Watt as the Independent Reviewer examined the actions of public officials, but were not able to examine the actions of Ministers, vendors or external parties including advisory firms and lobbyists.’
Mr Hill stressed ‘The Committee has reached no conclusions at this stage and invites anyone with information to provide evidence to the Committee. Further public and in camera hearings are expected to be held in late July and August.’
Mr Julian Hill MP, Chair of the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit on
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