Sovereignty of Parliament - Developing the Westminster System in a Political World

Activity: Service and engagementPublic lecture, debate or seminar


In discussing the development of the Westminster System of government across the Commonwealth, the then clerk of the House of Representatives of New Zealand, David McGee, emphasised the vast differences in culture, language and history (inter alia) that exist between the various Commonwealth countries while insisting on the uniting force represented by the overwhelming commitment of these countries to promoting democracy via parliamentary systems (MCgee, 2002). Arguably, in pursuit of accountability to the people, the protection of basic freedoms, the defence of liberty and the development of stable economies and stable polities, many of these countries have instituted Westminster-style constitutional systems. These systems are often modified form the original intentionally or unintentionally in response to cultural, economic and historical pressures. The Public Accounts Committee is, of course, an extremely important committee in the context of any parliament and its capacity to examine, evaluate and report on the financial management of the public purse is, arguably, a foundational aspect of any Westminster-style constitution. The Australian experience is no different and, in this presentation, I will discuss the capacity of Australian parliaments and Public Accounts Committees to respond to the challenges represented by the pragmatic form of Westminster system that is in place in jurisdictions across the country.
Period12 Apr 2013
Event title12th Biennial Australasian Council of Public Accounts Committees Conference
Event typeConference
LocationSydney, Australia, New South WalesShow on map
Degree of RecognitionInternational


  • Parliamentary Sovereignty
  • Parliament
  • Public Sector Governance
  • Democracy