Tributes flow for former Treasury secretary Ted Evans

By Shannon Jenkins

April 14, 2020

AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy

The prime minister and the treasurer have paid tribute to former Treasury secretary Ted Evans, who passed away over the weekend at the age of 79.

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg described Evans as a “giant of the Australian public service”, who was “respected far and wide”.

“It was his powerful advocacy and intellectual leadership which was behind many of the key economic reforms in the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s. The floating of the dollar, the deregulation of the financial sector, labour market flexibility and the development and implementation of the goods and services tax were all shaped by Ted’s contributions,” he said.

“His colleagues described him as calm, inquisitive and humble. But when he spoke he held the floor – his words were quiet, precise and frank, but also kind. His contribution to public policy and to the Australian Treasury is a legacy that will not be forgotten.”

Evans joined the Treasury in 1968 and was subsequently posted by Treasury to the Organisation for Economic Co‑operation and Development (OECD) in Paris and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington. He held the role of Treasury secretary from May 1993 to April 2001, advising both the Keating and Howard governments.

Howard once described Evans as a “straight shooter who gives advice fearlessly and forcefully”, according to Frydenberg, while Keating reportedly said Evans “was a prince in a bureaucracy at the peak of its powers and influence”.

In June 1999 Evans was made a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) in recognition of his service to economic policy development.

Following his APS career, he served on the board of Westpac from 2001 until his retirement in 2011, including four years as chair.

Scott Morrison argued Evans was “one of Australia’s great public servants”.

“Ted has left an indelible mark on Australia,” he said.

“He was renowned for his sharp intellect, modesty, integrity and the quiet fearlessness and forcefulness of his advice, earning the respect of prime ministers and treasurers on all sides of politics.

“On behalf of the Australian people, I wish to express gratitude for the enormous contribution that Ted Evans made to Australia through his lifetime of distinguished public service and our deep condolences to his wife Judith and the Evans family for their loss.”

Evans is survived by his wife, his two children, and two step-children.

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