Go to top of page

Part 3.4: External Scrutiny and Compliance

Judicial decisions and decisions of administrative tribunals

During 2017-18, the Department was involved in:

  • two matters in the Full Federal Court;
  • 17 matters in the Federal Court;
  • one matter in the District Court; and
  • 28 matters in the Administrative Appeals Tribunal.

The Department was involved in no matters in the High Court in 2017-18. No decisions by the Australian Information Commissioner had a significant effect on the operations of the Department.

Judicial decisions

Refer Judicial and administrative decisions

Administrative tribunal decisions

Refer Judicial and administrative decisions

Australian Information Commissioner decisions

Refer Judicial and administrative decisions

Reports on the operations of the entity

No applicable in 2017-18.

Reports by Auditor General

The Department works closely with the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) to provide responses to proposed audit findings and recommendations prior to the Auditor-General presenting his reports to Parliament.

During 2017-18, the ANAO tabled five audits that involved the Department, detailed below. The Department agreed to all audit recommendations made with related implementation activities either underway or completed.

Audits specific to the Department

Reports by Committee of either House, or of both Houses, of the Parliament

Parliamentary scrutiny

The Department appears before parliamentary committees to answer questions about our administration of health, aged care and sport programs.

During 2017-18, the Department received a total of 28 Parliamentary Questions on Notice from the House of Representatives and the Senate, and 1,384 Senate Estimates Questions on Notice.

Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit reviews

During 2017-18, the Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit tabled no reviews that involved the Department.

Senate Estimates hearings

During 2017-18, the Department appeared before the Community Affairs Legislation Committee:

  • Supplementary Budget Estimates – 26 October 2017;
  • Additional Estimates – 28 February 2018;
  • Budget Estimates – 29 & 30 May 2018; and
  • Budget Estimates spillover day – 27 June 2018.

The Department also appeared before the Finance and Public Administration Legislation Committee for the Cross Portfolio Indigenous hearings:

  • Supplementary Budget Estimates – 27 October 2017;
  • Additional Estimates – 2 March 2018; and
  • Budget Estimates – 25 May 2018.

Parliamentary Committee inquiries

The Department provided evidence and/or submissions to the following Parliamentary Committee inquiries.

Reports by Commonwealth Ombudsman

The Department continues to liaise with the Commonwealth Ombudsman on complaints relating to aspects of the Department’s administrative activities.

During 2017-18, the Commonwealth Ombudsman investigated 31 complaints against the Department’s administrative practices with 29 of these finalised. None of these investigations resulted in a finding of administrative deficiency.

Anyone with concerns about the Department’s actions or decision-making is entitled to make a complaint with the Commonwealth Ombudsman to determine whether the Department was wrong, unjust, discriminatory or unfair. Further information on the role of the Commonwealth Ombudsman is available at: www.ombudsman.gov.au

Capability reviews

No applicable in 2017-18.

Tobacco Plain Packaging

The Department, pursuant to section 108 of the Tobacco Plain Packaging Act 2011 (the Act), reports that 239 potential contraventions of the Act were investigated in 2017-18. The majority of these matters were continuing investigations from the previous year. In 2017-18, 86 warning letters and five infringement notices were issued.

The Department has responsibility to investigate and enforce the legislation, on behalf of the Commonwealth, which requires that all tobacco products sold in Australia must be in plain packaging and be labelled with health warnings.

A copy of this report has been provided to the Minister for Health.

The Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973

The Human Services (Medicare) Act 1973 provides for the Chief Executive Medicare to authorise the exercise of powers requiring a person to give information or to produce a document that is in the person’s custody, or under the person’s control, and the power to obtain a statutory report under section 42 of the Act. The table below outlines the number of times powers were exercised in 2017-18.