Monday, 28 September 2009

A lack of understanding

Malcolm Turnbull was quick to dismiss, during one of those interminable Sunday morning television interviews, the views of Treasury secretary Ken Henry that Australia’s economic stimulus package should not yet be wound back. The Turnbull view can be summarised as being  — the head of Treasury would say that wouldn’t he  — he’s a servant of the government. The leader of the Opposition clearly has no notion of the way that an independent and impartial public servant actually does serve the government of the day without becoming a liar on the government’s behalf. When Henry is asked to give a view, and does so, the opinion is most certainly what he believes. The great skill of the man, and many other decent and responsible senior public servants like him, is to find ways of not answering questions when to do so would involve engaging in criticism of his political masters. That is a long way different from being the unprincipled lackey that Turnbull describes. He clearly has spent too much time with the Godwin Grechs of Canberra and not enough with those who actually make the country work.
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