Ken Henry postscript

When denying the “suspicions” of the opposition about the budget forecasts, Treasury Secretary Ken Henry made two attacks on their current tactics. Firstly, their undermining of the public service was “unhelpful”. In Yes Minister terms that equates to the strongest criticism.

His second point, though not directly mentioning his Liberal Party critics, touched on the irresponsibility of white-anting financial institutions such as the Treasury and the Reserve Bank at a time of financial crisis.

Fundamentally, what is driving weaker economic outcomes globally at the moment is fractured confidence. So anything that can be done to help restore confidence in real growth in the strength of the economy right at the moment, is valuable.

We can talk ourselves into worse outcomes; of course we can. People do; it wouldn’t be the first time. But we don’t have to…
Henry slams Opposition’s manipulation claims

The key people talking down our financial institutions in Australia are the Federal Opposition. Malcolm Turnbull must know the implications of this.

Kevin Rennie
Labor View from Bayside


12 Responses

  1. Kevin,

    The liberal’s conduct over their slandering of Ken Henry is appauling, and specifically that of Helen Coonan with her “suspicious” claims and Talcum feigning outrage.

    I for one would like to see the liberals “put up, or shut up”.

    This constant casting doubt on the role of Treasury and the RBA and the accuracy of their figures and forecasts either has tangible evidence or it doesn’t.

    They should come clean and say what information they have to back up their claims or shut the f**k up!!

  2. Would the opposition be casting doubt because of their considerable experience of directly manipulating the public service for political gain?

    They did it and it had become so ingrained to their way of doing things they now think this government must also be doing it and any public servants that say they aren’t being political must be liars.

  3. It wouldn’t surprise me Adrian.

  4. Adrian, that’s pretty much how I am seeing it…if this persists I will invest in dummies and rattles.

    Was it not the opposition leader that was accusing the government of talking down the economy about five months ago?

  5. Well scaper the difference is that the opposition leader isn’t talking down the economy but the government financial institutions that control government fiscal and financial policy, or more specifically those senior public servants who run those departments.

    The only reason I can think for this line of attack is Malcolm is really pissed off that the same departments who occasionally criticised his government when in power, and dropped the odd negative report on his government (like profligate spending leading to higher interest rates), are not dumping on the current government.

    The sore loser syndrome is still alive and well in this opposition and they still don’t get that they are not the government and have no influence on policy. This is perfectly illustrated by the constant “demands” the government do the opposition’s bidding.

  6. There is no doubt that the Liberal Party is talking down the Australian economy. This is irresponsible behaviour considering the circumstances. They should also desist from extraordinary attacks on the Treasury and the Reserve Bank unless they are based on real evidence, something we have not yet seen.

  7. Yet when labor first came to power and tried to tell the people to be sensible and prepare for a downturn, Talcum outrageously claimed that labor didn’t have a clue cos they were talking down the economy!

    I think malcolm’s strategy is to attack everything, only thing is he ends up looking pretty silly sometimes because people get the wrong message from his outbursts and he then has to re-clarify what he meant.

  8. There was an interesting comment from Paul Bongiorno on this morning’s “it still feels like John Howard is in power Radio National Breakfast”

    He believes that the Liberals are desperate to use the Global Financial Crisis to portray Labor as bad economic managers. Maybe not blaming the crisis on Labor (although I am sure they will try) but implying that they can’t manage it or making it worse.

    So if a ‘respected’ economist like Henry supplies the information to the Labor Government that makes them look like they know what they are doing he is going to be attacked.

    However the kind souls at Radio National and many in the media say that Ken Henry was ‘caught in the crossfire’. If that is ‘caught in the crossfire’ I wonder what being directly targeted would be like.

  9. […] first case is the implied harassment of Treasury’s head Ken Henry. As Paul Bongiorno may have said this morning the Liberals are using the Global Financial Crisis to […]

  10. I am tired of Malcolm Turnbull & Co. talking down the economy. Didn’t Joe Hockey (or another Lib) say after the election that they would be happy to see the economy fall in a heap because then they would be elected in 2010. Must try to find the comment.

    This is exactly what they are doing and it is very annoying.

  11. Su H at number 10

    Was it Costello you were thinking of?

    As reported on 15 February 2007:

    Treasurer Peter Costello has failed to deny an allegation that he has been privately telling people a slight economic downturn would be good for the government.

    The Australian newspaper reported this week that Mr Costello thinks a strong economy would boost new Labor leader Kevin Rudd’s election chances, while a couple of bumps would scare voters back to the coalition.

    “No wonder Peter Costello is telling anyone who’ll listen, behind the back of his hand, that it might not be such a bad thing if the economy hits a few bumps. In the treasurer’s eyes such a scenario would put some voter apprehension back into the election mix,” columnist Glenn Milne wrote.

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