Labor will release its full costings document today, in a ritual that obsesses the governing class and has little interest for the majority of voters, even those engaged with politics and public policy.

The great costings game was formalised by the Howard government, when it established a mechanism for the Department of Finance and Treasury to receive and cost policies during the caretaker period. Instead of providing greater transparency and end the ritual of incoming governments declaring the fiscal situation was much worse than they'd been told so they would have to break their promises, the primary aim was to embarrass oppositions, which lacked the public service resources to fully cost complex policies. That was demonstrated when the Coalition found themselves in opposition and promptly refused to submit their policies for costing, instead claiming an accounting firm had "audited" them -- a claim later shown to be nonsense