Saturday, September 25, 2010

It's not just the Red Book. Now the Coalition's got hold of the Blue Book

...and handed it to us. Thank you Joe.

Some background:

Oh to be a fly on the wall post-election Sunday morning.

That's when Treasury chief Ken Henry, Finance boss David Tune and a handful of senior officers could arrive in Melbourne or Sydney for days of intense talks about the real state of the nation's finances and the real worth of the winning party's promises.

In 2007 the talks began in Brisbane Sunday morning and lasted two days.

By the time they were finished Kevin Rudd and his incoming Treasurer Wayne Swan would have got a fair idea that a number of their promises were duds.

Henry and Tune will carry with them one of two books, either the so-called "red book" routinely prepared for a new government, or the "blue book," routinely prepared for government's returning to office.

The most famous handover of a red book took place in the deserted bar of Canberra's Lakeside Hotel early Sunday morning in 1983 when Treasury Secretary John Stone explained to the incoming Prime Minister Bob Hawke and Treasurer Paul Keating that they faced a budget deficit far bigger than had been admitted by their predecessors and they would not be able to fund all their promises...

Redacted Blue Book Part 1

Parts 2, 3 and 4 over the fold:

Redacted Blue Book Pt2

Redacted Blue Book Pt3

Redacted Blue Book Pt4

Related Posts

. What Treasury told Gillard - the Red Books are out

. Wednesday column: Oh to be a fly on the wall Sunday morning...

. What passes as cost-benefit analysis of the NBN


mattcowgill said...

This makes me a bit uncomfortable...
Surely these sort of leaks will undermine the willingness of the public service to provide frank advice in written form to Government. There is a balance between our right to know (as citizens) and the need for Government to receive honest, impartial advice from the public service.

Peter Martin said...

Not sure how it came to be in my hands Matt.

My guess is the Coalitioon did an FOI on it. If so, all would be above board. Bits of it are redacted.

I'll find out.

Ralph said...

I'm not sure that I follow the reasoning of Treasury in not releasing these, but as you say, they look legit because of the redaction.

In the media release, I thought it an interesting comment from Treasury about Tony Abbott's reluctance to have these published, noting:

"strong views of the Leader of the Opposition, the Hon Tony Abbott MP, that the release of incoming government briefs would contravene the Westminster conventions."

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