(Image: Private Media)
(Image: Private Media)

John Howard famously went down in 2007 spending like a drunken sailor, but that was at the end of an 11-year reign that had delivered enough budget surpluses to reduce outstanding federal bonds on issue to just $58 billion. Howard’s treasurer Peter Costello had also gone a long way to fully funding federal superannuation liabilities to public servants through the establishment of the Future Fund.

However, very little of that Howard largesse resorted to direct handouts to public companies, in stark contrast to what we’ve seen from Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg in recent months.

It was bad enough that $38 billion of the $88 billion in JobKeeper payments went to claimants that didn’t qualify under the rules of the scheme, but at least public companies were required to disclose precisely how much they received.