Big ticks to Gerard Ryle and Lisa Pryor from TheSydney Morning Herald for producing a must read this morning – Democracy denied. It reads:

Millions of taxpayers’ dollars have been wasted on more than 70 parliamentary inquiries whose recommendations have been ignored and left to collect dust.

A Herald investigation has found that the Federal Government has not replied on time to a single public inquiry out of the 62 it has ordered in the House of Representatives since December 1998. It has given no reply at all to almost half of them.

This is the House of Representatives, the People’s House, our house, controlled by the government – which doesn’t seem to bother to respond to what its own backbenchers say. The Herald reports:

Politicians on committees in both houses of Parliament take months – sometimes more than two years – to travel around the country, study submissions and hear from hundreds of witnesses. In their investigation into the treatment of orphans, senators delivered their recommendations in tears. But in that case, like so many others, it amounted to nothing…

There may be more of an excuse with Senate committees. The government has lacked the numbers there. The inquiries have been more political. But the Senate is also a house of review.

“There is a practice in the Senate that every six months the president of the Senate produces a statement listing government responses to reports, as well as responses that remain outstanding,” Ryle and Prior write in a breakout piece.

“On the left-hand side is the date and the name of the inquiry. On the other there is a box that indicates whether the report was responded to on time. Rarely does the box on the right say anything other than: ‘No’.”

Eleven more sleeps to 1 July.