In future, it must be possible to hold debates in the National Council on the responses to queries from the President of the National Council and the President of the Court of Auditors
Vienna (OTS) – The National Council dealt today with two motions by the FPÖ to strengthen the right of interpellation. “There are always, and rightly, complaints about the quality of the responses to queries by members of the government. However, the answers to several parliamentary questions to the President of the National Council and the President of the Court of Auditors inevitably give the impression that questions are not being answered adequately or, in fact, not at all. In order to strengthen the right of the members of the National Council to ask questions, it should therefore be possible in future to hold debates in the National Council on these responses to queries, just as it is the legal situation in the case of responses to queries by the federal ministers! dr Susanne Furst.
Fürst continues: “Questions are often only answered superficially, evasively or not at all with flimsy justifications. There are repeated discussions about this in the President of the National Council, with the President of the National Council in particular promising to make the members of the Federal Government responsible and to push for better quality when answering inquiries. The question of the quality of the answers to parliamentary questions by the President of the National Council or the President of the Court of Auditors moves into the background. However, it is precisely here that there is potential for improvement that is easy to implement.”
Unlike the members of the government, the President of the National Council, for example, does not have a two-month deadline to reply and “unfortunately, this ‘non-deadline’ has recently been massively exploited: Sobotka took up to four months, especially with the last responses. In addition, the quality of the content was unacceptable. That’s why we’re addressing that. Exemplary in a negative sense were the responses by the ÖVP President of the National Council to his tax-devouring media empire in Parliament, to the subject of friendliness and to his cost-intensive social media activities. Not only did it take a long time for the replies to even arrive, but they were also extremely incomplete and far from insightful. That’s why we Liberals are of the opinion that we also have to hold debates on this in the National Council. Because the taxpayer has a right to know how the President of the National Council is throwing Austrian tax money out the window, while the population is suffering from an unprecedented wave of inflation – caused by the ÖVP and the Greens – and is being driven by massive existential fears every day.”
The National Council should also be able to discuss the responses to inquiries from the President of the Court of Auditors. “The amendment to the Law on Political Parties recently granted the Court of Auditors far-reaching rights to control the parties. But who controls those who are supposed to control? How does the Court of Auditors deal with allegations that are brought to it about the parties? When does the Court of Auditors become active and when not? The Court of Auditors itself stands for transparency and control. However, control by the National Council is also justified.”
“In order to strengthen this right of interpellation, it should therefore also be possible in the future to hold debates in the National Council on the responses to inquiries by the President of the National Council and the President of the Court of Auditors, as is already the case with the members of the government. This is necessary on the one hand due to one-sided and non-transparent action and on the other hand due to new responsibilities that must also be accompanied by control. As part of such a debate on the written answer to a question, it is then possible to submit a request for information or non-information, which creates a ‘feedback loop’ that is visible to the public,” Fürst appealed to all other parties.
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