Aussie Minister Ditches Economy for Wombats

Treasury boss going incommunicado during recess to help save endangered critters
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2008 6:13 PM CDT
A rare southern hairy-nosed wombat, native to Australia, emerges from its mother's pouch at the zoo in Brookfield, Ill., on Sunday, June 17, 2007.    (AP Photo/Brookfield Zoo, Jim Schulz)
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(Newser) – The Australian economy might be wobbly, but the treasury secretary would rather be off romping with northern hairy-nosed wombats, the Brisbane Courier-Mail reports. Ken Henry is unapologetically using the legislature's 5-week winter recess to tend to a small population of endangered critters—to the baying of opposition politicians worried over who will tend the economy while Henry is incommunicado.

"These guys are on death row. There are 10 times as many giant pandas in the world as there are these guys," said Henry, who will also miss a key central bank meeting while at the wombat colony with his wife. "I reckon if there was a mini-economic crisis, people would find their ways of getting to me."