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Public accountability, public accounts committee and constitutional design: a case study of Fiji


Finau, G and Tavaiqia, L, Public accountability, public accounts committee and constitutional design: a case study of Fiji, Journal of South Pacific Law pp. 55-72. ISSN 1684-5307 (2017) [Refereed Article]


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Copyright 2017 The Author. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0)

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This paper discusses the constitutional provisions relating to Fijiís Public Accounts Committee (PAC). While many Pacific jurisdictions have inherited the British Westminster system, there is variation in their constitutions with regards to PACs -- specifically the mandate, composition, and leadership of the PAC. Most research and international best practice recommends that PACs must be chaired by a non-government member and should also be dominated by non-government members. Such a structure is argued to enhance the independence of PACs, which will in turn lead to a more effective scrutiny of government spending. While some Pacific Island Countries (PICs) have PAC provisions stipulated in their constitutions, the authority of PACs in Fiji stems from Parliamentary Standing Orders. The differences in the constitutional authority of PACs provides greater discretion to Fijiís Parliament, and other countries in the Pacific with similar structures, to change aspects of PACs. In 2014, the Fiji Parliament made an unprecedented move to amend Standing Orders, which allows a Government member to chair the PAC. Fijiís case highlights post-colonial statesí growing awareness that the "rules of the game" can be changed and may be a catalyst for other PICs to circumvent parliamentary oversight systems and institutions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:public accounts committees, public accountability, constitutional design, parliament, Fiji, Pacific
Research Division:Law and Legal Studies
Research Group:Public law
Research Field:Constitutional law
Objective Division:Law, Politics and Community Services
Objective Group:Government and politics
Objective Field:Political systems
UTAS Author:Finau, G (Dr Glenn Finau)
ID Code:139838
Year Published:2017
Deposited By:Accounting
Deposited On:2020-07-07
Last Modified:2020-08-11
Downloads:18 View Download Statistics

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