‘The Australian treasurers’

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This thesis was completed at the Australian National University in 2017 under the supervision of John Wanna (Chair), Selwyn Cornish, and Paul 't Hart. The initial chair was Tim Rowse.

I first started writing about treasurers while working in the Department of the Treasury and I thank my then bosses David Gruen and Steven Kennedy for their encouragement.

There is no collective biography of the 40 Australian federal treasurers, such as the volume edited by Michelle Grattan on Australian prime ministers or that by Roy Jenkins on the British chancellors of the exchequer. Nor is there a book analysing the impact of the occupants or the office itself on Australia's economic history over the period for which the office has existed.1 This thesis goes some way towards filling this gap.

The thesis traces the development of the ministerial role of the treasurer, from initially a supervisor of a department of bookkeepers or accountants to an activist manager of the macroeconomy in a Keynesian framework and then to the provider of a sustainable economic environment and advocate of microeconomic reform. Space considerations precluded dealing in detail with all 40 treasurers, so eight treasurers were given detailed attention before a general discussion.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-116
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Economic History Review: an Asia-Pacific journal of economic, business and social history
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


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