The slow painful death of the Australian Treasury

When I and other graduates arrived at the Australian Treasury in 2003, we were inducted by Secretary Ken Henry and his deputy secretaries who drilled into us the Treasury’s rich history of giving “frank and fearless” advice to the federal government, based upon rigour and evidence.

We were told to examine issues rationally with a clear mind and free of prejudice, and to not be afraid of putting forward dissenting advice. Analytical excellence was the priority.

When I departed the Treasury in 2006 and headed back to Melbourne, I had witnessed three years of creeping political influence from ministerial advisers. Oftentimes “Executive Minutes” would not clear these advisers and reach the minister’s eyes.

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