When I arrived in the federal parliament back in July 2011 I was told that the Estimates process was probably the best thing about the Senate. “Democracy in action” is how some describe this exhaustive process whereby Senators can ask endless questions of Ministers and senior public servants.
Having just finished my second week of Estimate hearings I do think they are excellent, although frustrating at times. Some Ministers and their bureaucrats are adept at side stepping the questions we pose. But then the challenge is with us to ask the right questions.