Tuesday, October 28, 2008

It's out - the much awaited Ken Henry Hansard

Read it here.

Gasp as the Treasury Secretary tells a Coalition Senator that Australia's national newspaper has taken her for a ride:

Senator COONAN — On 13 October, Mr Rudd said, in referring to the package: ‘This measure has been recommended to the government by the Australian regulators—the Reserve Bank, the Prudential Regulatory Authority and the Treasury.’ Is that an accurate summation?

Dr Henry — Yes it is, Senator.

Tremble as as a Coalition Senator accuses the Treasury Secretary of lying:

Senator ABETZ — So the two of you [Henry and Reserve Bank Governor Stevens] were of like mind?

Dr Henry — I have already said that.

Senator ABETZ — and said ‘jinx’ each time you opened your mouth: ‘Exactly what I was going to recommend to the government.’ That, to me, does not sound to have the ring of truth about it.

Dr Henry — Excuse me, Senator. What are you suggesting?

Wonder about the Coalition as it relies again and again on one single unsourced news report to source its questions...

Senator COONAN - You have seen a front page article in the Australian yesterday, which I think you mentioned a little earlier, which stated, and I quote: 'The Government ignored the RBA’s strongly voiced concerns about the impact of an unlimited guarantee scheme in its rush to announce a guarantee of all deposits in Australian deposit-taking institutions on October 12.'

Dr Henry — I have seen that article and I have already indicated that that article is just plain wrong—and it is not helpful.

Senator COONAN — I am sure it is not helpful, but it may be right.

Dr Henry — Members of the committee may think that it is a matter of some mirth, but can I just say to the committee... that the Australian newspaper has not handled these issues particularly well.

Become restive as the Coalition digs even deeper, asking the same question on high rotation: Did the RBA and the Treasury differ in the leadup to October 12?

Dr Henry — Senator, I have answered that question on numerous occasions this morning and my answer consistently has been no.

Senator COONAN — Neither in writing nor orally?

Dr Henry — That is correct, Senator.

Senator COONAN — Right.

Dr Henry — That is to say, and I will say it again, the story on the front page of yesterday’s
Australian newspaper was wrong — that is W-R-O-N-G! That is for the benefit of Hansard.

Senate committees usually do truly great work. But not always. See for yourself.