Monday, September 09, 2013

Stand by for the truth. It'll be the PBO document dump

Policy details the Coalition kept hidden during the campaign are set to become public in a document dump scheduled for October.

The Parliamentary Budget Office sent letters of request to all three major political groups during the campaign asking for a comprehensive list election commitments by 5 pm Friday.

The Office revealed Sunday that all three complied, Labor furnishing the names of 132 commitments, the Coalition 169, and the Greens 107.

The Office is now required to make its own assessment of whether the lists are accurate, and to release its account of what it believes was promised within 30 days of Saturday’s poll. The deadline falls on Monday October 7, just after the first week of parliamentary sittings.

It will also release its estimate the total effect of each set of commitments on the budget bottom line. The assessment will be the first not mediated by the parties themselves. The Coalition employed three analysts it said were independent who limited their comments to a one-page piece of paper saying they agreed with the Coalition's totals.

Parliamentary Budget Officer Phil Bowen confirmed to Fairfax Media on Sunday he would also release the detailed figuring and assumptions the Coalition had not...

Many have already been prepared for the Coalition by the Office but kept secret, the Coalition deciding to release only totals rather than the means by which they were arrived at.

As a result details such as the starting date of policies and the way they would be applied were kept secret from Labor during the campaign, encouraging it to make errors such as claiming the Coalition’s policy was to cut 20,000 public service positions rather than 12,000.

The document dump will for the first time allow the public and Labor to see the details of the policies the Abbott government went to the people on.

The requirement for a post-election review was inserted into the Parliamentary Budget Office Act by Treasurer Wayne Swan in order to ensure “political parties are straight with the Australian people before the election”.

“They will be caught out afterwards if they are not,” he said in March.

In The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age

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