Chaos on Capital Hill: Carol Mills and the Department of Parliamentary Services

By Richard Mulgan
Updated April 23 2018 - 10:26pm, first published April 2 2015 - 12:07pm

The Parliamentary Services Department and its embattled secretary, Carol Mills, have been in the spotlight again. The latest trigger was a swingeing report by the Australian National Audit Office, Managing Assets and Contracts at Parliament House (February 2015). The report arose out of earlier concerns from members of the Senate finance and public administration legislation committee over the department's disposal of heritage assets and its contract management practices. The ANAO report can be added to the earlier findings of the Senate privileges committee, which had examined Mills' questionable conduct over the use of CCTV. Combined with the adverse publicity surrounding Mills' nomination for the position of clerk of the British House of Commons, which was vigorously attacked by clerk of the Senate Rosemary Laing, evidence is mounting that the department's leadership is in serious trouble. This continuing crisis in turn reflects poorly on Parliament's own accountability structures.

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