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Public bodies in Tasmania

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Priestley, R H(Robert Henry) 1983 , 'Public bodies in Tasmania', Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

This project was undertaken in response to a per~eived need for more
specific information about public bodies in Tasmania than is at
present· readily available. Statutory authorities, public bodies,
QUANGOS., QUAGOS, or whatever, are currently popular targets of
inquiries and theoretical discussions.1 Interest in public authorities
seems to have developed into concern, in some instances alarm, largely
because lack of information confronts virtually all investigations.
This difficulty is itself taken as a symptom of· an accountability
problem.
The findings o.f various inquiries and authors are discussed in
chapter one but my interest in Tasmanian public bodies originates from
a personal experience while I was employ~d as an auditor by the State
Audit Department. In June 1980 the Auditor-General received a request
from the Public Service Board for a list of statutory authorities
subject to audit. No such list existed and I was given the task of
producing one showing all statutory authorities and indicating whether
they were subject to audit by the Auditor-General. Naively, I thought
this would be an easy task involving simple collation from internal
departmental records and other sources I imagined certain to exist
within the public service. Audit Department records did yield
information on those authorities which received an individual audit
certificate but ie soon became clear there were many others not so
easily traced. -The most difficult aspect was simply identifying all
the authorities in existence. There was no alternative to a
systematic search of legislation, government directories, annual
reports, and even the telephone directory. Initially, I contacted
various agencies which I expected to be able to provide assistance,
only to receive virtually identical replies along the lines that
unfortunately they could not help, but, when the list was finished
would very much like to receive a copy. Eventually, the only way many
small bodies were discovered was by contacting administrators in
departments and known statutory authorities an~ asking for information
about any associated boards, committees, etc.
1. Terminology and definitions are discussed in Chapter 2.
1.
', -,
The above account is given for two reasons. Firstly, it
indicates the lack of information available on statutory authorities
in Tasmania thus showing a need for the type of data presented in
Appendix A. Secondly, it provides a background to the methods used
to identify authorities while researching this project. The original
list has been reconstructed, definitionally refined, and extended in
an attempt to include all authorities in existence at any time between
1960 and 1982 rather than being fixed at the time of preparation.
Additionally, mechanisms of creation; functional origination
and succession after termination; accountability requirements; and
income and expenditure; have been added.
This project is, therefore, primarily a~med toward the first
prerequisite for any overall analysis of public bodies in Tasmania;
that is, collection and classification of data. An attempt is made to
fit this empirical exercise within the overall context of current
discussion of public bodies and where possible comparisons are made
with recent studies in other States and the CotIDnonwealth. The project
is essentially descriptive and analytical rather than prescriptive.
Before proceeding to analysis of the data presented in
Appendix A it is necessary to make a qualification. The information
shown was collected and classified on the basis of sources which in
some instances may be incomplete. Therefore, individual data are
open to question,', although care was taken to cross check information
it is likely that some errors, omissions, and misinterpretations will
have been made. For this reason conclusions are not drawn from
absolute observations, but rather, are made on the basis of aggregate
trends interpreted with awareness of possible research bias. Therefore,
it is argued that the restricted conclusions drawn are fundamentally
correct though probably not quantitatively exact.

Item Type: Thesis - Unspecified
Authors/Creators:Priestley, R H(Robert Henry)
Keywords: Corporations, Government, Administrative agencies
Copyright Holders: The Author
Additional Information:

Thesis (M.Soc.Sc.)--University of Tasmania, 1984. Bibliography: leaves 181-182

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