Paul Keating had most of the answers (Photo by Andrew Taylor via The Age)

So you think you know Australian politics, huh? Find out for sure with quizmaster Alan Austin's seventh pre-election quiz for IA's political tragics — this time on Australia's economic history.

1. Only once has Australia’s gross debt increased by more than $14 billion in one month.

This was in:

(a) 1941, when Arthur Fadden was prime minister, to manage World War II.

(b) 1991, when Bob Hawke was PM, to restructure Australia’s economy during the early 1990s recession.

(c) 2009, when Kevin Rudd was PM, to finance the world’s fastest stimulus response to the global financial crisis.

(d) 2016, when Malcolm Turnbull was PM, to finance a shortfall in revenue due to massive tax evasion.

 

2. Who were treasurer and prime minister when Australia first achieved triple A credit ratings with all three international agencies?

(a) John Howard when Malcolm Fraser was PM.

(b) Peter Costello when John Howard was PM.

(c) Wayne Swan when Julia Gillard was PM.

(d) Joe Hockey when Tony Abbott was PM.

 

3. Joseph Lyons was Australia’s treasurer from 1932 to 1935 and in that period never once had a policy dispute with the prime minister.

This was because:

(a) The fragile economic recovery after the 1929 crash demanded diplomacy and unity.

(b) Lyons was so respected no-one dared challenge him, not even the PM.

(c) He actually made excellent decisions throughout.

(d) He was the prime minister.
 

4. According to a speech in January by Treasury chief John Fraser – appointed by Tony Abbott in 2014 – Australia’s current structural deficit and debt problems began when?

(a) During the 1980s when the Hawke Government slashed tariffs, floated the dollar and deregulated the banks.

(b) In the early 2000s, when the Howard Government squandered the windfall revenue from the mining boom.

(c) During the global financial crisis, when the Rudd Government borrowed tens of billions of dollars to spend on pink batts and school halls.

(d) In 2014 when the mantra “open for business” encouraged corporations to evade taxes.

 

5. Maintaining foreign exchange reserves is a critical area of economic management. Australia’s reserves once dropped disastrously during a three-month period – by 55 per cent from $80.3 billion down to $35.9 billion.

The hapless treasurer then was:

(a) John Howard when Malcolm Fraser was PM.

(b) Peter Costello when John Howard was PM.

(c) Wayne Swan when Julia Gillard was PM.

(d) Joe Hockey when Tony Abbott was PM.

(e) Never happened. No-one could be that incompetent.

 

6. Which of these disastrous outcomes was reported in last week’s jobs figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)?

(a) The number of full-time workers has fallen by 60,670 since December.

(b) Full-time employees are now only 64.4 per cent of the work force, an all-time low.

(c) Actual hours worked relative to the population have fallen over the last three months to the lowest level since 1993.

(d) Job participation has fallen to 64.8 per cent, below the level three years ago.

(e) All of the above.

(f) None of the above.

 

7. Which of these disastrous outcomes in last week’s ABS jobs figures was reported in the mainstream media?

(a) The number of full-time workers has fallen by 60,670 since December.

(b) Full-time employees are now only 64.4 per cent of the work force, an all-time low.

(c) Actual hours worked relative to the population have fallen over the last three months to the lowest level since 1993.

(d) Job participation has fallen to 64.8 per cent, below the level three years ago.

(e) All of the above.

(f) None of the above.

 

8. One of these statements about Australia’s economy is false — which?

(a) Australia’s economy has recently been overtaken by South Korea as the world’s 12th largest economy, measured by nominal gross domestic product (GDP).

(b) Australia was the only member of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development to avoid a recession – two negative quarters of GDP growth – during the global financial crisis (2008 to 2012).

(c) Workers’ wages rose by 16 per cent in 1982 when John Howard was treasurer.

(d) In the last 25 years the seven budgets with the highest tax to GDP ratio were all Coalition and the seven with the lowest tax take were all Labor.

 

9. According to ABS figures released this month, which of these manufacturing sectors are producing volumes higher now than in 2013, before the last election?

(a) Textiles and clothing

(b) Printed and recorded media

(c) Petroleum, coal, chemical and rubber products

(d) Metal products

(e) Machinery and equipment

(f) All of the above

(g) None of the above.

 

10. Two extraordinarily costly blunders by Australian treasurers are very well-kept secrets. One was $4.5 billion lost gambling on foreign exchange markets. The second was selling most of Australia’s gold reserves at near rock bottom prices just before the price rose spectacularly. Both handed billions to foreign speculators. Coincidentally – or maybe not – they happened under the same treasurer.

He was:

(a) John Howard

(b) Paul Keating

(c) Peter Costello

(d) Wayne Swan

(e) Joe Hockey

 

11. Malcolm Turnbull said recently: 

“Part of our plan is big trade export deals. We have opened up huge markets in Asia which are driving investment and growth.”

Who was prime minister when Australia’s exports plummeted and the trade deficits exceeded $2.5 billion for a disastrous 11 months straight?

(a) Gough Whitlam

(b) Malcolm Fraser

(c) Julia Gillard

(d) Tony Abbott

(e) Malcolm Turnbull

 

12. According to treasurer Scott Morrison, Labor's economic record

“... is an absolutely howling shocker.”

How many of these variables have improved since the Labor years, through 33 months of steady global economic recovery?

1. Budget deficit as percentage of GDP

2. Gross debt

3. Net debt

4. Rate of wages growth

5. Jobless rate

6. People unemployed

7. Hours worked per person per month

8. Balance of trade

9. Current account as percentage of GDP

10. Business confidence (NAB)

11. Consumer confidence (Westpac)

12. Small business sentiment (NAB)

13. Interest rates

14. Household savings

15. Household debt to GDP

16. Crude oil production

17. Steel production

18. Value of the Aussie dollar relative to the US$

19. Value of the Aussie dollar relative to the euro

20. Australia’s gold reserves

21. Government 10 year bond rate

22. Credit ratings (S&P, Moody’s, Fitch)

23. Economic freedom (Heritage)

24. Competitiveness ranking (WEF)

25. Corruption index (Transparency)

 

(a) all 25. Morrison is right.                        

(b) 21: all except gross debt, net debt, interest rates and the credit rating.
(c) 13, more than half.     

(d) three: jobless rate, consumer confidence and steel production.    

(e) none.

 

Check your answers here!

Disputes with the Quizmaster are welcome and correspondence will enthusiastically be entered into. Feel free to Tweet Alan Austin @AlanTheAmazing.

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