What a week in Australian public administration. In just a few days, the Reserve Bank has increased disclosure and removed the horrible political taint inflicted by former Treasurer Peter Costello and his appointment of the tax-challenged Liberal Party fundraiser, Rob Gerrard.

On Tuesday, the Bank made a major improvement in disclosure by releasing a statement along with its decision to leave interest rates unchanged and announcing that future board decisions would be made public on the same day as the board meets and that minutes of the meetings would be released two weeks later.

The RBA’s move on disclosure makes you wonder why Howard and Costello didn’t implement these reforms after the 1998, 2001 or 2004 election wins.

But worse was to come for Howard and Costello’s now tatty record in this area with yesterday’s announcement of a new monetary policy agreement with the Rudd Government, which is the cornerstone for economic management in Australia.

Contained in the statement was this paragraph:

The Secretary to the Treasury and the Governor will maintain a register of eminent candidates of the highest integrity from which the Treasurer will make new appointments to the Reserve Bank Board. This procedure removes the potential for political considerations in the appointment process and ensures only the best qualified candidates are appointed to the Reserve Bank Board.

So more grubby political appointments like Mr Gerrard.

Being a professional bureaucrat, Kevin Rudd can understand what the RBA is on about, hence his Government’s agreement with the Bank’s new independence.

But in view of the RBA’s concern about spending, does the prime minister think he can cut services, spending and jobs in a meaningful way, and still give away $31 billion in tax cuts, when it was promises like that which spooked the board in November?