Australian National Audit Office

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Australian National Audit Office
Australian National Audit Office in Barton.jpg
ANAO located in the Centenary House building in Barton, Australian Capital Territory.
Agency overview
Formed 1901
Jurisdiction  Australia
Employees 348 (estimate for 2013–14)[1]
Annual budget A$77.651 million (2012)
Agency executive Ian McPhee AOPSM,
Parent agency Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) is the national auditor for the Parliament of Australia and Government of Australia. It reports directly to the Australian Parliament via the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President of the Senate. Administratively, the ANAO is located in the Prime Minister and Cabinet portfolio.

The current Auditor-General of Australia is Ian McPhee AOPSM.


The Australian National Audit Office is a specialist public sector agency that supports the Auditor-General of Australia, who is an independent officer of the Parliament of Australia. The main functions and powers of the Auditor-General under the Auditor-General Act 1997 (Cth) include auditing financial statements of Commonwealth agencies, authorities, companies and their subsidiaries in accordance with the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth) and conducting performance audits which are tabled in Parliament. The Auditor-General may report its findings directly to Parliament or to a Minister, on any important matter.[2]

In addition, the ANAO plays a leadership role in improving public administration and audit capability in Australia and overseas by publishing information such as better practice guides and deploying experienced staff to audit institutions in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea.[2]


The Auditor-General is appointed by the Governor-General on the recommendation of the Minister, for a term of ten years.

The current Auditor-General is Ian McPhee, who was appointed on 11 March 2005. His previous position outside the Australian National Audit Office was as a Deputy Secretary/General Manager in the Department of Finance and Deregulation. From January 2003 until his appointment as Auditor-General, McPhee was Deputy Auditor-General. McPhee was awarded the Public Service Medal in 2002 for outstanding public service to public sector accounting and auditing, and the development of industry accounting standards.

Below is a full list of Commonwealth Auditors-General dating from 1902.[3]

Name Dates
John William Israel 1902 – 1926
Charles John Cerutty 1926 – 1935
Herbert Charles Brown 1935 – 1938
Ralph Abercrombie 1938 – 1946
Albert Charles Joyce 1946 – 1951
James Brophy 1951 – 1955
Harold Clive Newman 1955 – 1961
Victor John William Skermer 1961 – 1973
Duncan Robert Steele Craik 1973 – 1981
Keith Frederick Brigden 1981 – 1985
John Vincent Monaghan 1985 – 1987
John Casey Taylor 1988 – 1995
Patrick Joseph Barrett 1995 – 2005
Ian McPhee AOPSM 2005 – present


The Audit Act 1901 (Cth) was the fourth piece of legislation passed by the Parliament. The Audit Act provided a legislative basis for the financial management of Commonwealth finances and the audit of related accounts, it also provided a legal foundation for the appointment of an Auditor-General.[4] The first Auditor-General, John William Israel,[5] began establishing the Federal Audit Office in 1902 in Melbourne.[6] The office moved to Canberra in 1935, in line with Government policy at that time.

The Audit Act 1901 was amended in 1979 to provide producing performance audits ("efficiency audits") to allow the Audit Office to undertake efficiency audits. Efficiency audit, or performance audit, concerns the efficiency and effectiveness of a particular government activity.

The Audit Act 1901 was replaced with the Auditor-General Act 1997 (Cth), which came into effect on 1 January 1998. The main features of the new act included:

  • provisions that strengthened the independence of the Auditor-General and the Australian National Audit Office);
  • the strengthening of the Auditor-General's role as an external auditor of Commonwealth agencies, authorities, companies and their subsidiaries, including a comprehensive mandate to conduct, with some limited exceptions, financial statement and performance audits of all government entities; and
  • clarification of the Auditor-General's mandate and powers.[7]

In 1986 the ANAO hosted XII INCOSAI, the twelfth triennial convention of the International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions.[8]

The Australian National Audit Office also reviews Commonwealth Government agencies pursuant to the Financial Management and Accountability Act 1997 (Cth) for the proper use and management of public money, public property and other Commonwealth resources; the Commonwealth Authorities and Companies Act 1997 (Cth) that provides reporting, accountability and other rules for Commonwealth authorities and Commonwealth companies; and the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) for general corporate law.


  1. ^ Australian Government. "Budget Paper No. 1". 2013-14 Commonwealth Budget. Statement 6: Expenses and Net Capital Investment: Australian Government. Archived from the original on 24 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c "The Auditor-General Annual Report 2011−2012" (PDF). Australian National Audit Office. Commonwealth of Australia. ISBN 0-642-81266-7. Retrieved 4 November 2012. 
  3. ^ History of the ANAO, Australian National Audit Office, 2014, archived from the original on 28 March 2014 
  4. ^ "Report 419: Inquiry into the Auditor-General Act 1997" (PDF). Canberra: Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. 2010. p. 1. 
  5. ^ "History of the ANAO". Canberra: Australian National Audit Office. 2011. p. 1. 
  6. ^ Wanna, John; Ryan, Christine (2003). "A Reactive Administrative Culture? The Legacy of Australia's first Auditor-General on the Australian Audit Office" (PDF). Canberra: Australian Journal of Politics and History. p. 5. 
  7. ^ "Report 386: Review of the Auditor-General Act 1997" (PDF). Canberra: Joint Committee of Public Accounts and Audit. 2001. p. 3. 
  8. ^ "INTOSAI: 50 Years (1953-2003)". Vienna: International Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions. 2004. p. 63. 

External links[edit]