The Liberals and their cheerleaders at The Australian are trying to beat up a smear on the Greens for – like both big parties when they get treasury costings of prospective policies – supporting Treasury not releasing those costings. (Note that neither The Australian nor the Liberals are actually advocating for the rules to be changed and their treasury costings to be released, so this is just a game of We Called You A Hypocrite First.)
If such costings could be obtained under FOI, Senator Milne said, it would mean parties would be unable to “get a reliable costing to make a decision”.
As in – we’re talking about costings of prospective policies. Is it a bad idea for parties to be able to submit policies for costing before they decide whether to adopt them or not, without fearing that they’ll get smeared by opponents for considering something that costings subsequently cause them to decide against?
In an honest media environment, of course, the fact that a party had considered something it subsequently decided against would be unremarkable, and it wouldn’t matter what the costings said because how do you smear a party for something being expensive if that’s why they decided against it? But in this media environment… I can see why parties knowing mere consideration of a policy is enough to get you damned for it might cause them to refuse to submit policies for costing by treasury, and instead rely on dodgy firms friendly to them (like the Liberals do).
I suspect this is another of those situations where the Greens are forced to act within the system they want to change. They want caps on political donations, but will accept large ones (from people who are supportive of their existing policy positions) in the interim, because if they didn’t they’d have no chance of competing with those that do. They want transparency in treasury costings – but for all parties, not them alone.
It would be hypocrisy if they wanted the system to apply to everyone but them. It would be a betrayal of principle if, once they got inside the tent, they stopped advocating for those reforms, or actually voted against them. And that would be the point at which I stopped supporting them.
But this beat-up by people who believe 1.5 million Greens voters should be excluded from having a single representative in the House of Representatives is clearly not that point.