Less than a month after the Productivity Commission issued a warning about governments using national security to hide wasteful expenditure, the government has served up a contemptuous example of exactly that in the budget. In its recent Trade and Assistance Review, the PC warned:

There is little transparency of government spending in pursuit of national security objectives (such as airport security), nor the compliance costs that regulation imposes on Australian businesses and consumers. While security measures often necessitate secrecy, this should not preclude careful assessment of governments’ spending and regulatory measures aimed at averting terrorism or ameliorating its effects.