that forum to try and gauge the stage to try and bring them into the same space

That forum to try and gauge the stage to try and

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that forum to try and gauge the stage to try and bring them into the same space.” Unfortunately, access to documents about HoTs meetings was denied by Treasury. However, six of nine members of HoTs or their deputies were interviewed. These interviews suggested that the dual reporting regime was mostly an issue of the Commonwealth and that discussions about these issues originated there. In addition, interviewees suggested that the HoTs of two jurisdictions at the State or Territory level were proactive in GAAP/GFS harmonisation. Hansards in these jurisdictions were searched for the names of the HoTs, GAAP, GFS and synonyms from 1998 to 2003. The analysis of Hansards showed that issues existed, for example in Victoria, with one Hansard documenting a debate over GFS and GAAP numbers. The search found no evidence that GAAP/GFS harmonisation was mentioned or discussed at the State or Territory level prior to the FRC strategic direction in December 2002. Interviewees suggested that the opinions and attitudes of HoTs, as well as the political support, at the States and Territory level varied. One HoT (Interview 3/12/2012) provided the following picture: “I think [support for GAAP/GFS harmonisation] varied across different Treasuries I’m sure. I’m sure in Victoria as I mentioned, that Government came to power with a strong commitment to having their budget and their financial reports audited by the Auditor-General because of the past history of poor financial management perhaps and accounting transactions being off budget if you like. So they had a very strong political commitment to accounting standards
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217 which then sort of caused difficulty with other jurisdictions in terms of making comparisons and so on, as I mentioned. So I think while Heads of Treasury drove the technical and influenced the sort of framework to the FRC and so on, I think it reflected also the political reality of the need to have a common basis of reporting.” A number of interviewees suggested that HoTs from two jurisdictions had shown a ‘neutral’ attitude throughout the discussions, but supported the project when it was voted on. Three HoTs were described by interviewees as traditionally strong supporters of GFS, yet they supported GAAP/GFS harmonisation. An AASB member (Interview 23/12/2010) remembered: “[HoTs member X] used to say that’s a complete waste of time, no one is interested in those standards and the government ought to adopt the GFS. […] Now on the FRC there were two guys who were very influential government reporting. There were amongst others, but [PE C] was by far the main guy, but [PE C] believed the AASB should just adopt the GFS for public sector, the whole of government accounting in public sector.” The interviewees mentioned only two HoTs that ‘cautioned’ about the project. One was worried about resources and training, as he had been involved in the change of accounting systems. While in favour of GAAP/GFS harmonisation, the second HoT was facing political pressures from his government, because of different GAAP and GFS treatments of unfunded superannuation liabilities.
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  • Fall '13
  • Government, The Land, International Financial Reporting Standards, Financial Accounting Standards Board, Australian Accounting Standards Board, Snow

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