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Australia’s economy has deteriorated under the Coalition

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Cartoon by Mark David / @MDavidCartoons

Australia’s recent dismal economic management is revealed dramatically when outcomes are compared with the rest of the world. Alan Austin updates the sad and sorry decline.

THE LIES are now coming thick and fast. Last Saturday, Prime Minister Scott Morrison sent an election campaign email (echoed on the Liberal Party website) claiming that only his Government had:

‘... a plan to maintain Budget surpluses, pay down Labor’s debt and lower your taxes’.

They have had more than five years. They have done the opposite, as the hard, cold facts affirm.

So here is a ready reckoner of the wreckage, with links to the actual data. This may help counter the continuing crocks about the Coalition’s economic "credentials".

Budget deficits

Australia’s budget deficit as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2013 was -1.2%. Pretty good, given the global conditions. That ranked ninth in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the club of 36 wealthy, developed economies.

Then came Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey with the promise to “achieve a surplus in our first year in office and ... every year of our first term.”

Six budgets later, Australia is still in deficit, with only the promise of a surplus in June next year.

Meanwhile, as the current global boom in investment, growth, jobs and profits has accelerated, nearly half the OECD countries have moved into surplus. Australia’s ranking on budget shortfalls collapsed to 27th in 2017. It will be about 20th in 2018, pending final figures.

Gross debt

By 2013, after moderate borrowing in order to stave off recession during the global financial crisis, Australia’s debt was 16.8% of GDP. That was third lowest in the OECD with only Chile and Estonia lower.

Since 2013, many OECD members have reduced their gross debt and some have increased it slightly. Only three have increased it by more than ten per cent of GDP. Of these poorly managed economies – Australia, Mexico and Chile – Australia’s blow-out has been the worst, at 11.6% of GDP. Australia’s debt now ranks eighth in the OECD.

Taxation levels

During the Howard years, taxes relative to GDP hit 24.3%. Collections fell during the Rudd/Gillard period then rose again under the Coalition:

Graph supplied

Claiming Labor is the party of higher taxes is a malicious falsehood.

Total unemployment

At the time of the 2013 election, Australia’s jobless rate was 5.71%. That ranked sixth lowest in the OECD according to the data from Trading Economics.
The World Bank DataBase, which uses slightly different measures, ranked Australia eighth lowest from 2009 to 2013.

As the current global jobs boom has advanced, Australia’s ranking has slipped steadily, even though raw job numbers have improved. Australia now ranks a dismal 18th in the OECD on both tables.

Youth jobless

In 2013, 122,400 workers aged 15 to 19 were unemployed, a rate of 16.4%. This ranked ninth among developed countries. The number is now up to 151,000 and the rate is 18.1%, which ranks 21st — the worst ever.

Economic growth

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg recently claimed

“Australia is stronger than it was when we came to Government six years ago — growth is higher.”

This is the direct opposite of the truth. Relative to Australia’s trading partners and competitors, the economy is weaker than it has ever been.

Annual GDP growth for the latest quarter, Q4 in 2018, was 2.34%. This ranked 113th out of 183 countries in the world, and 18th among the 36 OECD members. These are Australia’s lowest rankings ever.

Australia was in the top six OECD countries by annual growth through most of the Labor years, and first in 2009.

Wages stagnating

Wages rose in 2012-13 by 2.8%. That ranked seventh in the OECD. This year, wages are rising at 2.3%. That ranks 20th.
The following items compare data at the time of the 2013 election with the latest outcomes:

Gross domestic product per capita

According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) data, national earnings per person are down from ranking fifth among developed countries to seventh now.

Gross national savings

Also using IMF tables, this is now down from ninth to an appalling 19th.

Mean wealth per adult

Credit Suisse shows Australia’s ranking has fallen from second – behind Switzerland – down to fourth. Australia is now also behind Luxembourg and Iceland.

Household debt

Up from the fourth highest in 2013, relative to gross domestic product, to the second highest today, behind only Switzerland.

Gini coefficient

On this critical measure of the equality of wealth distribution, Australia is down from 12th to 28th.

Government spending

Outlays were 23.9% of GDP in Labor’s last year. As a percentage of GDP, that ranked fifth most restrained in the OECD. Spending has been higher every year since — now ranking eighth.

Export volumes

Growth in the volume of exports of goods and services: down from fourth to 18th.

Corruption perceptions

On Transparency International’s corruption index Australia is at a lowly 13th place in the world for the fourth consecutive year, down from ninth.

Economic freedom

According to Heritage Foundation, Australia’s OECD ranking is down from first to third.

Value of the Aussie dollar

The dollar has tumbled from 5.65 Chinese yuan in 2013 to 4.73 as this is written. It has collapsed from 92 U.S. cents to 70.2 cents. It is down from 91.3 Japanese yen to 78.0 yen, and from 116 Kiwi cents to 105 cents.

Ranking on the IAREM

In 2013, Australia’s economy was the best-performed in the world by a significant margin. It had been the best since 2009. This has been affirmed by many independent economists and world leaders. It now ranks 21st in the world on the IAREM, a multi-factorial measure of overall economic management.

Scott Morrison wrote in his Saturday email (and on the Liberal Party website):

‘The Labor Party has shown that they cannot manage money. If you can’t manage money, you can’t run the country.’

All the actual data shows that it is the Coalition, not Labor, which cannot manage the economy. The difference is not marginal. It is the difference between best in the world and 21st.

Stand up for human rights! Read about Alan Austin's current situation HERE and help out by contributing to the crowd-funding campaign HEREYou can follow Alan Austin on Twitter @AlanAustin001.

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