This year, with an election around the corner, there's been none of the traditional late January official commencements to the political year. Instead, both sides are straight into campaign mode and unlikely to deviate from that until 6pm on polling night. That's perhaps the reason why what was billed as a "major speech" by Treasurer Josh Frydenberg yesterday got little attention beyond what was dropped to newspaper journalists ahead of time. Or it could be that people are so convinced of a Labor win that Frydenberg could announce the nationalisation of the banks and still struggle to get a headline.
Frydenberg has the makings of a good treasurer and is rightly touted as a potential future leader, but has failed to make the portfolio his own in the limited time he's been there, and yesterday's "major speech" showed that there is little awareness in his office, or in senior Treasury ranks, of just how radically the political environment for economic thinking has shifted in the last three years. The speech would have been a workmanlike effort if delivered by Joe Hockey in 2014. Early in 2019, it was remarkably out of sync with political reality.