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Monday, 21 March 2011
Page: 2414

Dr LEIGH (1:49 PM) —I rise to acknowledge the contribution of Dr Ken Henry to economic policy making in Australia as a major player in Australian economic policy making for 2½ decades and as Secretary to the Treasury for the past decade. Great policy making involves both ideas and advocacy. Like John Maynard Keynes and H.C. ‘Nugget’ Coombs, Ken Henry has been unafraid to engage in pointy-headed discussions with the best economists but also unrepentant about the need to dive into the political process.

As Laura Tingle noted in an article in the Australian Financial Review on 4 March, Dr Henry has been involved in so many important debates in Australian policy making—the GST debate, environmental debates and the debate over fair taxation of the minerals that are the birthright of every Australian. Dr Henry has redefined the mission statement of the Treasury to focus on wellbeing. He has broadened the scope of economic policy making to include issues such as Indigenous affairs and education. Under him the Treasury now brings down regular Intergenerational reports. He produced a major tax review, a seminal document that will influence Australian taxation debates for decades.

Having previously been seconded to Treasury, I can attest how much members of the department will miss him. Perhaps the same is not so true for some of the senators before whom he has appeared. For now, Australian policy making will be poorer for missing Dr Henry’s speeches and I wish him well in the next stage of his career.