Martin Parkinson has escaped the axe as the head of Treasury until at least November this year, after Tony Abbott reversed his position on the man who led the department through years of the Rudd-Gillard Labor government.
The Prime Minister has requested that Dr Parkinson remain as the Secretary of Treasury until after Australia hosts the G20 summit in Brisbane in November.
Joe Hockey, as the head of the G20 finance ministers’ meetings, asked Mr Abbott to extend Mr Parkinson’s term, due to expire in June after the budget, to beyond the G20 summit.
Mr Abbott agreed to Mr Hockey’s request in Perth and Dr Parkinson was told the Prime Minister’s ‘’request’’ last night and agreed to remain as Treasury Secretary.
A spokeswoman for the Treasurer told The Australian that Dr Parkinson had been informed of Mr Abbott’s request and agreed to stay on.
Only two weeks ago Mr Abbott was firmly backing the idea that Dr Parkinson should go as Treasury Secretary and pointed to different economic attitudes between the former Rudd and Gillard governments and the new Coalition government.
‘’Australia, at the official level, went from being a high-tax, high-regulating government to being a low-tax, deregulated government,” Mr Abbott said. “That’s a very, very big change and we expect everyone in the system to be working enthusiastically with us as we reshape our country to provide more jobs and greater prosperity for all.
‘’You’ve got to understand that incoming governments do very much want to place their stamp on the economic policy of the country and that is exactly what we are doing,’’ Mr Abbott said then.
‘’We are placing our stamp on the economic policy of the country and let there be no doubt, let there be no doubt, that Australia’s policy direction changed very substantially back in September of last year.”
Before last September’s election, the Coalition was highly critical of Treasury’s economic forecasting, while Dr Parkinson was also believed to have suffered because of his role as head of the former Department of Climate Change and his involvement in Kevin Rudd’s failed carbon pollution reduction scheme in 2009.
But Mr Hockey and Dr Parkinson have been working well together, particularly during their work preparing for the G20, and Mr Hockey was keen to have Dr Parkinson stay until the end of the year.