Stop attacking Federal Govt finance forecasts: Oakeshott

Rob Oakeshott
Rob Oakeshott Jerad Williams

INDEPENDENT MP Rob Oakeshott has moved a motion of confidence in Treasury and Finance in a bid to curb a "culture" of attacking the departments' forecasts.

The motion, which will ask the lower house to express its full confidence in the departments of Treasury and Finance and Deregulation and their respective secretaries, was seconded by fellow independent Tony Windsor.

Mr Oakeshott said the motion was similar to the one he successfully moved last week calling on the House to display confidence in Australia's science community and its advice that man-made climate change is real.

He said much of the post-budget debate had highlighted a recent trend of political rhetoric being "a long way from reality".

"Today is a chance for the House of Representatives to ... end this game of rhetoric in the public domain, somehow questioning the advice that is received from the best that we have got in this country on advice around the budget, around PEFO and around forecasting and estimates," Mr Oakeshott said during debate on the motion.

"It is a problem that, culturally, we seem to be getting more and more into."

Mr Oakeshott said criticism of public servants was unfair because they were unable to defend themselves.

He described the people working in the respective departments as "men and women of integrity".

"I think they are doing all they can to provide the very best and most certain advice in challenging political times," he said.

Coalition MPs Jamie Briggs and Kelly O'Dwyer used the debate to attack Mr Oakeshott, honing in on his support of the Gillard government, while Labor frontbencher Andrew Leigh accused the opposition of "smearing" treasury officials.

Debate on the motion was adjourned.

Topics:  australian government budget finance labor politics rob oakeshott

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