Politics Analysis

All-time worst economic outcomes under Morrison and Frydenberg hit 60

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(Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons)

The number of published results of the Coalition’s economic mismanagement which are the worst on record has now reached 60, as Alan Austin reports.

NO PREVIOUS Australian government has delivered such low economic growth over a sustained period of years as the Morrison-Joyce Government. The mainstream media’s economics writers will not report this. But they should.

This is yet another appalling all-time weakest statistic generated by the Coalition and starts this list of the next ten, which brings the grand total to 60. Yes, 60 – six-oh – outcomes which are the worst on record, or in a very long time, or have collapsed furthest on global tables. The first 50 have been published already, with links to the raw data.

51. Lowest sustained economic growth

Over the three calendar years from 2017 to 2020, Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) rose from $1,910.7 billion to just $1,959.1 billion, a lift of 2.54%. That is the lowest since records began in 1959.

Over the four years from 2016 to 2020, Australia’s GDP rose by just 4.97%. That is also the lowest on record. Over the five years from 2015 to 2020, GDP increased by a miserable 7.81%, again the lowest ever. That is about half the 14.26% lift Labor achieved in its five years — despite having to battle the devastating Global Financial Crisis (GFC).

52. Largest government sector

Federal government spending reached 27.7% of GDP in 2019-20, the highest since Treasury started recording this measure in 1970. This from the Party which has always declared it stands for small government and strong private enterprise, and which castigated Labor for spending 25.1% of GDP in 2008-09 during the GFC.

But wait, there’s more. The size of government relative to GDP increased to a new all-time high of 31.6% in the year to June 2021.

53. Hours worked per person

Among several indicators which prove the jobs situation in Australia is far direr than the headline jobless rate suggests is total hours worked per person in all jobs per month. The Bureau of Statistics (ABS) shows this rarely fell below 33.9 throughout the Rudd and Gillard periods, averaging 34.1 hours. This steadily declined thereafter, falling below 31.6 twice – in May 2020 and August 2021 – the lowest on record.

54. Duration of fruitless job searches

The average time job seekers spent on the dole in 2021 was a dispiriting 53.0 weeks, the second-longest on record. The longest was 54.7 back in 1994. The average through Labor’s last year was 36.5 weeks.

55. Worst mismanagement of employment placement on record

The abject failure of the Coalition to match workers with jobs via strategic vocational training is tabulated in the ABS’s Labour Accountfile.

It shows manufacturing now has 30,300 vacancies, a shortfall of 3.2%, both all-time records. Mining has 9,600 vacancies, which is 4.6% of all mining jobs, both close to the all-time high. Professional, scientific and technical vacancies number an appalling 38,700, a record high, which is 3.1% of all jobs in those sectors. Extra teachers needed now number 10,700, a new record.

Overall, the economy has 401,600 vacancies, a shortfall of 2.7%, the highest by far since records began in 1994. The previous high before the Coalition came to office was 1.6% in 2010, during the GFC.

56. Corruption ranking

Transparency International has confirmed the Morrison Government is Australia’s most corrupt when it downgraded Australia’s global ranking on corruption perceptions last year from 11th to 18th, the lowest ever. See chart, below.

The recent deterioration in Australia’s standing is the deepest of all advanced nations. From a 2012 score of 85, Australia tumbled 15 points to 77 in 2017, then to just 73 in 2021.

(Source: Transparency International)

57. Overseas development aid

Australia’s foreign aid fell to an all-time low of 0.21% of gross national income (GNI) in 2019–20 with just $4.044 billion allocated. The quantum was cut further in 2020-21 to $4.0 billion, but the ratio rose slightly to 0.22% due to lower GNI.

Both the quantum and ratio were forecast in Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s last Federal Budget to collapse even further next year. See chart, below.

Australia is now among the meanest of the rich countries, with the aid ratio well below the OECD country average of 0.30%.

(Source: Parliament of Australia website)

58. Cost of detention

The monthly cost of detaining asylum seekers on Nauru has soared to $464,486 per detainee, or more than $15,000 a day, according to advice to the Senate. That’s ten times higher than $45,347 per person in 2016, which was about $1,460 a day.

The profits are going to a private company that directly or through associated entities has made multiple donations to Queensland’s Liberal National Party. 

(Source: The Guardian)

59. Heritage economic freedom

In its 2022 index of economic freedom, Washington-based think tank Heritage Foundation gave Australia the shameful score of 77.7 points out of 100, the lowest since the index began 28 years ago.

Heritage ranked Australia a lowly 12th in the world, the lowest on record.

Australia ranked first in the OECD and third in the world from 2009 to 2013.

60. Gender gap

Australia has never given women the same opportunities, power and incomes as men. That’s according to the Global Gender Gap Report published annually by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The best period was between 2009 and 2014 when Australia ranked around 23rd in the world. Thereafter, rankings fell sharply, tumbling to 37th in 2015, then 45th in 2020. The latest ranking, 51st in 2021, is the lowest ever.

There is no doubt among independent observers that Australia’s economy is currently managed by the least competent administration in its history and close to the worst in the developed world.

A small number of watchers in the independent media will report these outcomes accurately. But the majority in the mainstream media will try to conceal them. Such is Australia’s doom.

Alan Austin is an Independent Australia columnist and freelance journalist. You can follow him on Twitter @alanaustin001.

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