Politics Analysis

Peta Credlin's political opinions are worthless

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During her time as Tony Abbott's chief of staff, Australia's economy collapsed from poor policies (Screenshot via YouTube)

The Murdoch media are beefing up efforts to push political commentator Peta Credlin. Her actual achievements, writes Alan Austin, suggest she is unqualified.

PETA CREDLIN is popping up increasingly on social media and politicians’ websites as well as in News Corp and other outlets. Why she has any media presence at all is one of life’s mysteries.

Credlin served as chief of staff to Opposition Leader Tony Abbott from December 2009 until the September 2013 Election, then stayed on in that role after he became Prime Minister. She held that influential job until Malcolm Turnbull replaced Abbott in September 2015.

In opposition, Abbott and Credlin failed to build a team, outline a vision beyond three-word slogans and formulate effective policies. In government, they presided over collapses in Australia’s economy, social cohesion and international reputation. Curiously, Credlin’s bio at IMDb makes no mention of that spectacularly destructive six-year stint as Abbott’s chief enabler as Liberal Party leader.

This analysis does not offer opinions. It records actual outcomes.

Australia’s economic collapse

Australia’s economy led the world before 2014. From 2011 to 2013, Australia had the world’s highest median wealth per adult, according to Credit Suisse. This slipped to second in Abbott’s first year and to third the year following.

Economic growth

Growth in gross domestic product (GDP) ranked in the top ten in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) for most of Labor’s term.

After one year of Abbott and Credlin, by September 2014, annual economic growth had tumbled to rank 21st. It recovered only slightly to rank 18th in September 2015.


Australia’s unemployment rate also ranked in the OECD’s top ten through the Labor years and in the top five for most of that period. After two years of Abbott and Credlin, the jobless rate had blown out from 5.70% to 6.15%. This ranked 15th in the OECD, the lowest ranking since 2002.


Wage rises through the entire Howard Government period averaged 3.57% per year. This increased marginally under Labor to 3.60%, despite the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). This collapsed to 2.49% through the Abbott/Credlin years.

Government debt

Australia’s net debt exploded under Abbott and Credlin from a very modest $161.3 billion to a staggering $256.3 billion. That was after Abbott’s shadow ministers in Opposition had promised to reduce it by $30 billion.

Gross debt expanded relative to GDP by a thumping 23.5%. That was the second-worst blow-out in the OECD. Only Chile fared worse. Of the 38 OECD members, a majority of 21 actually reduced gross debt over that two year period of strong global recovery.


The ability of workers and corporations alike to travel across Australia suffered the worst setback on record during the Abbott/Credlin period. Infrastructure spending declined from $1,614 spent per person per year under Kevin Rudd and $1,605 under Julia Gillard to a miserable $1,207.

Value of the dollar

All Australians were impoverished when the Aussie dollar collapsed from worth more than one U.S. dollar through most of the three years before Abbott became PM to below 72 U.S. cents when he left. Again, the world’s worst fail.

Other areas of the economy to deteriorate under Credlin’s management included productivity, competitiveness, youth unemployment, personal savings, household debt, retail sales, government spending, tax evasion and the budget deficit.

The decline in Australia’s social wellbeing

Construction worker deaths escalated relative to work done following Abbott’s promise to deregulate the building sector. Efforts towards combating racism went into reverse with Indigenous people, immigrants and asylum seekers further marginalised. Severe cuts were made to front line health services for Aboriginal communities.

Confused messages and bizarre policy changes on the environment have been well chronicled here and elsewhere.

Blatant lying

While intentional lies became part of the Coalition’s strategic arsenal under John Howard, deliberate falsehoods proliferated greatly under Abbott and Credlin. This journal tabulated at least 65 here, here and here.

Other publications have confirmed the destruction of the value of truth under Credlin’s direction, with Crikey claiming:

‘Abbott’s disregard for facts was in the service of a political agenda of constant, remorseless attack and negativity in relation to his opponents.’

Trashing Australia’s global reputation

Throughout the Labor years, every nation wanted to be photographed next to Australia. Global accolades 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 then rapidly became the world’s laughing stock as the stupidities, gaffes and foreign policy failures under Abbott and Credlin kept piling up. By early October 2014, just over a year after taking office, 40 foreign affairs blunders had made news across the world. By June 2015, major news outlets in virtually every developed country had run features on Australia’s “morally bereft” refugee policies.

The outcomes Abbott and Credlin delivered were clearly the worst in any new administration in Australia’s history to that time. They were arguably the worst in any Westminster government in the last 200 years to that time.

This should be remembered whenever anyone suggests Ms Credlin should be listened to on anything related to sound government.

Alan Austin’s defamation matter is nearly over. You can read the latest update here and contribute to the crowd-funding HEREAlan Austin is an Independent Australia columnist and freelance journalist. You can follow him on Twitter @alanaustin001.

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