Former federal treasurer Wayne Swan has accused the coalition government of creating "fake news" after commissioning a report similar to one already debunked.
The federal government has been accused of using taxpayer funds to create "fake news" after Treasury published a report discrediting Labor's response to the global financial crisis.
The Treasury report by Griffith University economics professor Tony Makin says Labor's fiscal stimulus program was ineffective and damaging.
It's similar to a report written by Prof Makin two years ago, which was dismissed by then Treasury boss Martin Parkinson.
Former treasurer Wayne Swan, who oversaw the rollout of Labor's stimulus package, says Treasury chief John Fraser needs to explain why and at what cost the review was done, given Treasury had already debunked Prof Makin's claims.
"Asking right-wing economist who opposed stimulus at the time to review it is like putting Dracula in charge of a blood bank," he tweeted.
"Govt through Treasury is now paying to create more fake news."
Shadow treasurer Chris Bowen says it's a "disturbing politicisation" of the Treasury Department.
He's written to Mr Fraser asking how and why the report came about and why it was released on Friday, after being leaked to media on Thursday.
"The report today shows how desperate this government is to try and distract the Australian public from their own incompetence on the economy," Mr Bowen said.
"The government needs to explain why the Treasury apparently commissioned this work by a well-known ideological opponent of the GFC stimulus package."
Prof Makin's report says the Labor government's fiscal response to the GFC weakened the economy by strengthening the Australian dollar and creating uncertainty about how the budget would be repaired.
"Prolonged overvaluation of the exchange rate seriously worsened Australia's international competitiveness and harmed industries in the tradable sector, especially manufacturing," he writes.
The report's release comes as official figures on Wednesday showed the economy shrank 0.5 per cent in the September quarter - the biggest decline since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.