The Charter of Budget Honesty Act 1998 underpins the release of the PEFO and provides (relatively weak) constraints on the Government as to its budget reporting.
Importantly the Act does not mandate any action by the Opposition.
It allows the Opposition (and other minor parties) to request the Treasury and the Department of Finance and Deregulation to undertake costings (it has yet to be amended to reflect the creation of the Parliamentary Budget Office). But it does not mandate that the Opposition take any particular action (the word ‘may’ is used in this context).
Therefore, the Opposition is complying with the Charter of Budget Honesty even if it does not request a single costing.
Chris Bowen is either lying or ignorant when he continues to call for the Opposition to ‘abide by the charter of budget honesty’.
Whether the Government is complying with the Charter is another issue. Section 1 of the Act provides
The Charter of Budget Honesty provides a framework for the conduct of Government fiscal policy. The purpose of the Charter is to improve fiscal policy outcomes. The Charter provides for this by requiring fiscal strategy to be based on principles of sound fiscal management and by facilitating public scrutiny of fiscal policy and performance.
The Rudd/Gillard/Rudd governments have conducted poor fiscal policy and have hidden from public scrutiny many major items (eg: the NBN).
In conclusion, the Opposition is abiding by the Charter; the Government has flouted
flaunted the Charter.