What is it about?

The question of the Australian Auditor General's performance audit' mandate has become an issue of contention and debate since the early 1970s to the present time. The issue has revolved around the degree to which it includes audits of economy, efficiency and particularly, effectiveness. Glynn (1989) has made a valiant attempt to clarify the issue and has suggested that several commentators including Dillon (1985), Parker (1986), Pugh (1987) and Hatherly and Parker (1988) may have misunderstood the Auditor General of Australia's (AGA) performance audit mandate and overlooked the Australian Audit Office's (AAO) interpretation of an efficiency audit in its Annual Audit Report 1984-5 (pp.7,9). Glynn concludes that such commentaries have been confused and offers interpretations largely based on the 1901 Audit Act (as amended) and its 1979 amendments, (Audit Act, 1987), AAO Annual Reports (AAO, various) and auditing standards (AAO, 1987), pronouncements by the Royal Commission on Australian Government Administration (RCAGA, 1976) and comments by the Joint Committee of Public Accounts (JCPA, various). This paper adds a further contribution to this debate in the hope of providing a resolution. It argues that the reality of the AAO performance audit mandate is based on a penetration of the complex discourse that includes official pronouncements, commentaries, reports, speeches and the public sector literature. Our contention is that a resolution of this important issue requires the identification of the AAO's de jure mandate versus its de facto mandate. In attempting to clarify the AAO audit mandate, Glynn bases his discussion upon a dejure analysis of manifest official pronouncements. His arguments are therefore fundamentally based upon reinterpretations of legislation and other official pronouncements. The succeeding analysis, adopts an alternative approach of attempting to penetrate the AAO audit mandate defucto. Hence, this analysis, and some of the preceding literature, is based on a critical analysis of the complex discourse (offcial and informal) that has transpired in the history of Australian performance auditing. We contend that it is only by critically penetrating that discourse to reveal the underlying motivations, beliefs and agendas of participants, that the AAO audit mandate in reality can be truly discerned.

Featured Image

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: PERFORMANCE AUDITING: THE JURISDICTION OF THE AUSTRALIAN AUDITOR GENERAL ? DE JURE OR DE FACTO?, Financial Accountability and Management, June 1991, Wiley,
DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0408.1991.tb00129.x.
You can read the full text:



The following have contributed to this page