Basically he committed the mortal sin of pointing out that on water policy and climate change the Howard Government was making policy that was economically irrational on the basis of perceived political advantage. (we should note that in a media release Ken Henry spun his speech as being critical of Treasury’s communication with the Government)
More interesting than the speech is that it was leaked at all. This being Canberra one has to wonder if the leak was deliberate or not, especially as the leak went to the Financial Review, and as leaks from Treasury are very rare beasts.
The Howard Government has been widely despised by its public servants since the earliest days. Canberra’s electoral returns give a pretty clear indication as to how they feel about it.
Is there, perhaps, a hope that this time Howard might lose? That with a little rush and a push the public service can topple the teetering Government over the cliff? While at the same time shoring up their credentials for an incoming Rudd Government at the end of the year?
If so we can expect a lot more exciting leaks. Oh to be a fly on the wall at the Commonwealth Club.