another quick fucup to the budget...
Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey has been accused of inappropriately using a senior economist conducting an independent review of government policy as a "drawcard" for a $3000-a-head budget day fundraising event for the NSW Liberal party.
Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen has written to Mr Hockey voicing his concerns about the appearance of Professor Ian Harper on a list of speakers at an exclusive event organised by a secretive Liberal Party fundraising body, the North Sydney Forum.
The North Sydney Forum offers exclusive access to Mr Hockey, often in private boardrooms, in return for political donations in the form of annual membership fees of up to $22,000.
But the forum and Mr Hockey refuse to disclose the names of its members. Mr Hockey has declined to say what meetings and discussions he has had with them because his diary is ''confidential''.
Fairfax Media revealed on Tuesday that forum members are being invited to pay $3000 each - and non-members $4000 - to be part of an exclusive May 13 budget day event attended by Mr Hockey's most senior staff and key ministers.
On the speakers' bill is Professor Harper, who was recently appointed by another attendee, small business minister Bruce Billson, to head a review of government competition policy.
"As you are aware, your government has commissioned Professor Harper to chair the 'independent root and branch review' into competition policy," Mr Bowen writes to Mr Hockey.
"I am greatly concerned that this report, if accurate, raises at the very least, clear perception issues around the independence of the government's policy review. It also raises concerns about the effective politicisation of access to the chair of a government review."
Mr Bowen says if "Professor Harper is involved as a drawcard in this Liberal Party fundraising event, I believe it to be an error of judgement on your part".
While Mr Bowen says Professor Harper may not be, strictly speaking, a public servant he points Mr Hockey to a clause in the government's statement of ministerial standards which says: "Ministers are to regard the skills and abilities of public servants as a public resource, and are expected to ensure that public servants are deployed only for appropriate public purposes."
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/labor-slams-hockeys-use-of-independent-reviewer-as-fundraising-bait-20140507-zr69u.html#ixzz310eCzJBz