Politics Analysis

Fact checking Frydenberg's flood of furphies and fabrications

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Cartoon by Mark David/@markdavidcartoons

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is ramping up the falsehoods as an election looms, writes Alan Austin.

VETERAN MELBOURNE RADIO presenter Neil Mitchell asked Treasurer Josh Frydenberg point blank last Thursday if he had ever told a lie. Frydenberg immediately said “no” and Mitchell accepted this without challenge. Perhaps Mitchell hasn’t read any of the articles chronicling the multiple falsehoods. Or perhaps he has, but believes dishonesty and deception are essential for the Coalition to be re-elected.

Virtually all interviews on the Treasurer’s media website are riddled with bare-faced lies which commercial radio and TV presenters happily swallow, never question and frequently amplify.

Post pandemic economic recovery

Last Thursday, Frydenberg told Leon Byner on 5AA:

“Australia’s economic recovery has been stronger than all but two major advanced economies – stronger than Germany or Italy, stronger than Japan, stronger than Canada, stronger that the United Kingdom.”

This is blatantly false and easily disproven. Australia’s growth in gross domestic product (GDP) over the 12 months to September announced the day before that interview was a modest 3.85%. Italy’s was 3.9%, Canada’s was 4%, while the United Kingdom recorded an impressive 6.6%.

Yes, Australia beat Japan and Germany, but was way behind most comparable advanced economies. Sweden registered 4.7%, China and the USA both 4.9%, the Netherlands 5%, Norway 5.1%, Israel 5.9%, Singapore 7.1% and Chile an impressive 17.2%.

If we look at all 38 developed OECD member countries, Australia’s annual GDP growth ranks a miserable 30th. That is the lowest ranking on record for any period in Australia’s history. So it is absolutely false and hypocritical for Frydenberg to claim ascendancy with these figures. 

GDP growth Sept 2021 OECD Final.jpg

In stark contrast, Australia ranked second in the OECD at a similar stage in the recovery from the global financial crisis in 2009 under Labor. 

GDP growth Sept 2009 OECD Final.jpg

Employment falsehoods

Frydenberg assured Byner’s Adelaide audience that:

“We have actually seen 350,000 jobs come back since the start of September.”

No, we haven’t. The total number of jobs has fallen in each of the last three months, as clearly shown by the screenshot, below, from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, released on 11 November. This shows that 146,300 jobs were lost in August, another 141,100 jobs went in September and 46,300 more disappeared in October.

In total, 333,700 jobs have gone since the end of July.