A missed anniversary raises the matter of how well Australians are informed about their society. Alan Austin dons his quizmaster hat once again.
THIS QUESTION was asked on a Facebook page recently:
‘1. According to global finance giant Credit Suisse, Australia had the world’s highest median wealth per adult for three years in a row. Who was Prime Minister?’
Participants offered eight different answers. All wrong. So who do readers here think it was — without Googling? Write down your guess. We will answer down the page.
That Facebook discussion also posed this question:
‘2. Australia has only once been in the top three OECD member countries by low jobless numbers. (The other two were Norway and South Korea.) Who was the Prime Minister?’
Of the 39 replies, offering 11 prime ministerial names, three got it right. (The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is the club of 37 rich, developed democracies.)
So what is your answer? And what are your responses to these further questions about Australian prime ministers?
3. Who were the Prime Ministers on the two occasions Australia won the world’s best treasurer award?
4. Who was the Prime Minister when Australia won international infrastructure minister of the year?
5. Who was the Prime Minister when Australia won international aviation minister of the year?
6. Which Australian Prime Minister in the last 50 years had the lowest rate per year of ministerial sackings for performance failures and ethical or legal lapses?
7. Who was Prime Minister when New York-based Heritage Foundation reported for the first time that Australia had the highest level of economic freedom in the OECD?
8. Who was the Australian Prime Minister whose speech to the joint sitting of the U.S. Congress was interrupted six times for standing ovations, ten times for seated applause and which received a record three-minute standing ovation at the end?
9. Which Australian Prime Minister delivered the world’s most famous speech by a national leader since U.S. President John F. Kennedy’s “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech in 1963 — as measured by the number of times it has been quoted and acclaimed by world leaders, academics and others?
10. Who was Australia’s Prime Minister when all three global credit agencies awarded Australia the top triple-A rating for the first time?
Media-induced national amnesia
The reason this assessment of our collective memory arises now is that ten years ago, near the end of 2010, Australia was acknowledged worldwide as having the world’s leading economy. Accolades and awards were received that year and in years following from countless economists, academics, national leaders, finance ministers and global agencies.
These included aviation minister of the year, world’s best treasurer, infrastructure minister of the year, world’s most effective response to the Global Financial Crisis, triple-A credit ratings with all major agencies, the vote to chair the G20 group of the world’s 20 major economies and a seat on the United Nations Security Council.
Australia’s economy clearly led the world on economic growth, wealth per person, job creation, productivity, infrastructure investment and the value of its currency.
But few, if any, of these honours and tributes were reported to the Australian people by the rabidly anti-Labor mass media.
The answer to every one of those questions is Julia Gillard, with Bob Hawke sharing the answer to question three. Worldwide, Gillard had an extraordinary reputation, much the same as New Zealand’s Jacinda Ardern enjoys today.
Ardern, however, does not lead a country where the Murdoch media employs malicious people to tear her and her party down by ceaselessly misreporting their achievements.
Of course, many accomplishments acknowledged during the Gillard period were initiated in the brief period Kevin Rudd was Prime Minister. Gillard was his deputy throughout. Murdoch’s outlets denigrated them both mercilessly then and have continued to do so since.
Destructive practical impact
It is a profound tragedy that this mythology fed constantly by the media – that Labor cannot manage the economy – has prevented a just celebration of the achievements of the Gillard era. But this is not just a matter of sentiment.
Had voters been informed that Labor had generated the world’s best-performed economy and was admired globally for its other successes, the results of recent elections may have been different.
If the Gillard/Rudd Government had continued, and if Australia still generated the highest wealth per person, its citizens would now own about A$110,000 more on average than they do now. That’s based on annual wealth reports from Credit Suisse which have measured the deterioration since 2013.
If the jobless rate was still in the OECD’s top three, around 455,000 fewer Australians would be out of work. If government gross debt was still at 16.8 per cent of GDP where Labor left it, the debt would be $372 billion today instead of $829 billion.
The twin false concepts – that Labor cannot manage the economy and the Coalition can – serve to keep the incompetents in office against the interests of most Australians who vote for them.
This shuts out economic management which retains wealth and income in Australia for the benefit of its citizens and locks in the parties which shunt it offshore — which is what the Murdoch empire and other media strive to facilitate.
It seems this will only change when Murdoch’s malevolent influence is eliminated.
Meanwhile, a belated happy anniversary to the Gillard Government for its re-election ten years ago in August. And thank you for generating the best-performed economy the world had ever seen ten years ago today.
Alan Austin’s defamation matter is nearly over. You can read an update HERE and contribute to the crowd-funding campaign HERE. Alan Austin is an Independent Australia columnist and freelance journalist. You can follow him on Twitter @AlanAustin001.
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