Treasurer Wayne Swan says it was entirely appropriate to ask his department to cost three of the Coalition's tax policies and then give that information to a newspaper reporter.
The move sparked an angry response from Shadow Treasurer Joe Hockey, who accused the Government of politicising the public service.
He also demanded an explanation from the head of Treasury, given that Labor frontbencher Craig Emerson had suggested it was not unusual for the department to release policy costings.
Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson yesterday defended his department's actions, saying the analysis was carried out at the request of the Government and was not leaked by Treasury officials.
Mr Swan says he does not regret involving Treasury, arguing there is nothing unusual about asking his department to carry out policy costings.Â "This is a document commissioned by the Government, it's up to the Government to use it as it sees fit," Mr Swan told ABC Radio National.Â "There's absolutely nothing unusual about that.Â "These are matters of public debate and it's entirely appropriate that that information is released."Â to giving the information to Fairfax newspapers and it was subsequently used by Labor to publicly attack the Coalition's economic credentials.Â The information, which has now been provided to the ABC, showed that the three policies analysed by the Treasury would cost businesses $4.57 billion in their first full year of operation.Â Mr Swan has hit out at the way Mr Hockey dealt with the release of the information, accusing him of unfairly targeting Treasury officials.Â "What I regret is the way in which Mr Hockey has sought to politicise the Treasury because in the past, when the Liberals were in government and when Mr Hockey was a minister, the Treasury has supplied information to governments costing a whole range of issues," he said.Â "It's entirely appropriate for the Government to do that and past governments have done that."Â Labor is challenging the Coalition to submit its policies to the parliamentary budget office to be properly costed, something Mr Hockey has promised to do.Â He has also flagged plans to request a full analysis of the Government's mining tax policy, which reportedly raised no revenue in its first three months of operation.Â The Government was forced to again write down the expected revenue from the tax in the latest budget update by more than $4 billion over the forward estimates.