When governments have bad news to tell, they often wait until no one is really listening.
The Thodey report on the public service isn't quite bad news, but the Coalition government hauled it out anyway on a Friday in mid-December after months of anticipation from public servants.
Such timing is not nothing, when you consider the review's findings also became public more than a week after Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced he would cut department numbers and sack five departmental secretaries.
They also emerged four months after Mr Morrison told bureaucrats his priorities for the Australian Public Service in a speech.
The independent Thodey review always sat awkwardly with the Morrison government. It was a legacy of Malcolm Turnbull's, a project recommended by the former prime minister's top bureaucrat Martin Parkinson, who left in August.
It was an exercise over which Mr Morrison had little control, on a topic that, as it turned out, he had his own ideas. The Prime Minister found a way to wrest control back, revealing his own agenda long before the Thodey report's release, and getting ahead of it by announcing a massive bureaucratic restructure.
The Thodey report appears a document for a different government: the one before Mr Morrison's, and possibly ones to come after.
In any case, some of the secretaries on the board that helped inform the review's findings are leaving in February.
It's a document with flaws, but the report's recommendations show a keener sense of the ailments hurting the bureaucracy than critics might have expected.
The government is at odds with many of the review's findings. Some reforms destined for the scrap heap are those that could do most to achieve a reversal in the public service's fortunes.
The rejected recommendations are also those that would strengthen the public service's standing again after years ceding influence and capability to ministerial offices, consultants and contractors.
Public service reform is at the heart of the Morrison government's agenda, but it won't much resemble the blueprint Mr Thodey has offered.