Confidentially aiming to please

Outsider was trying to remember why he was pleased about the Government's decision to give Greg Medcraft another term as chairman of the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and then he witnessed Medcraft's appearance before the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics. 

Over his many years living and working in Canberra, Outsider was witness to numerous Commonwealth department heads fronting Parliamentary Committees and, in the classic traditions of Sir Humphrey Appleby, blinding our elected representatives with much sound and fury signifying nothing. 

But Medcraft is no Sir Humphrey and seems ready to not only answer the questions put to him by committee members but to go just that bit further. 

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Thus, while Medcraft's most senior officers were telling members of the committee that confidentiality provisions precluded them naming the insurance companies which had declined up to 66 per cent of claims, the ASIC chairman was not feeling nearly so constrained. 

No, Chairman Medcraft told the committee that the names of the offending insurers could be revealed either in camera or via a private briefing. 

As Sir Humphrey Appleby once said: "I don't think we need to bring the truth in at this stage".

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