Sunday, January 31, 2010

Australia's Prime Minister didn't know what was to be in Australia's Budget

I had thought that kind of thing could happen only in the UK:

IF PRE-BUDGET speculation leaves you feeling out of the loop, you're in good company. According to former Downing Street aide Derek Scott, the Prime Minister has been none the wiser, either.

In his book Off Whitehall, Scott reveals how Tony Blair was forced to beg Gordon Brown for a "hint" of what was in one of the Budgets. Blair, writes Scott, was reduced to pleading: "Give me a hint, Gordon."

But, unbelievably:

"Costello was always tight with information, and trying to get him to tell the Prime Minister's office what was in the budget was always an ordeal," Niki Savva writes.

"In 2003, Costello kept his budget tax cuts secret until the last possible moment. In 2006, the Prime Minister's office was not told about the superannuation changes until a few days before the budget was put to bed. Howard would ring his advisers seeking information on what was in the budget, only to be told they couldn't get it and he would have to ring Costello himself to ask for it."

Mr Howard saw the Coalition tax cuts for the 2007 election campaign only a few hours before the scheduled joint press conference to unveil them.

No wonder Australia turfed them out.

I am all in favour of ministers running their own departments...

But for Australia's Prime Minister not to know what was in Australia's Budget?

As someone once said, "head. meets. desk"

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