His years as a political hack under Carr, Orkopoulos and Iemma obviously weren’t wasted on Nathan Rees — the new Premier has come out spinning right from the start, gilding Joe Tripodi, much to the bemusement of Reserve Bankers.

In his effort to justify keeping Tripodi in cabinet instead of dumping him, Rees declared:

Joe’s got a first class honours degree in economics. He was a Reserve Bank policy maker. They’re the skills we’re going to need to deal with the fiscal challenges ahead.

Reserve Bank sh*t-kicker is more like it. “Moorings for Mates” Tripodi was one of the usual bunch of economics cadets taken on by the RBA and didn’t last long before jumping into Sussex Street’s bosom.

Well, he was really there already — a member from the age of 16, on the NSW Young Labor state executive 1990-92, Young Labor State Secretary 92-94 segueing into the occupational health and safety officer title in 1993 and the safe seat in March 1995.

It was certainly an achievement for the boy from Westfields High to make it to the RBA, but the cadets don’t make much in the way of policy for the first couple of years.

Moorings’ own parliamentary web site demonstrates the brevity of his purported policy making, plus an intriguing gap in his employment history: B.Ec (Hons) (Syd.). Economist, Reserve Bank of Australia 1989-91. Union official, Labor Council of NSW 1993-95.

The RBA years aren’t as long as they might look. Born in November 1967, Joe would have finished his HSC in 1985, done three years economics and picked up a cadetship that entails some 1988/89 summer paper shuffling before returning to uni on part-pay for his honours year in 1989. So in terms of full-time employment, it looks more like started in 1990 and departed the next year.

Yes, folks, that’s the sort of in-depth RBA policy making experience NSW Labor needs. Thankfully Joe retains the Ports and Waterways job as well as becoming Finance Minister, so he’s still good for a mooring.

Peter Fray

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