I’ve been reading Paul Keating - The Big Picture Leader by Troy Bramston.
I do thoroughly recommend it. It’s a candid insight into the mind and career of Australia’s last great political thinker and objectively our greatest economic manager and visionary. PJK, one of only two Australians to ever win Euromoney's Finance Minister Of The Year Award.
The other being Wayne Swan. Both of them Labor and both aggressively hounded by the LNP for their internationally recognised fiscal responsibility. It is interesting to note that no Liberal Treasurer has ever been applauded as such.
Which leads one to wonder, from whence comes the narrative of “the Liberals are better economic managers”?
Because there is really no data to support this. Quite the opposite really.
On Swan's award, Coalition Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said it was hard to take the award seriously, given that it was never handed to Mr Costello: "He should hand the award to Peter Costello with a thank-you note, pointing out that he's been standing on the shoulders of giants." The levels of irony in this statement from such an abject failure of a Treasurer are truly remarkable. The Nolan brother's couldn't write irony this deep.
This is an un-shopped image of Joe Hockey as Treasurer after handing down one of the most austere budgets in living memory.
If one looks at the halcyon daze of the Howard-Costello years, the times that baby-boomers get nostalgic and misty-eyed for, the "thank-you note" as it were, the assessment of their economic legacy is rather bleak.
Thank you very much indeed.
Unfortunately not much has changed since.
Last Wednesday our Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg (a man who has repeatedly proven himself unable to pronounce the word “hyperbole”, unless he’s thinking of a new sporting event that’s bigger than the Superbowl - it's unfortunate the Hansard doesn't record idiotic pronunciation), put out a press release of pure onanism and glowing praise of his economic management.
The problem is, none of it is true. There is no data to back up his claims.
Independent Australia’s Alan Austin has done the due diligence that everyone should when a politician makes such a pronouncement and Joshy has been found wanting. I do recommend you read his work as it’s quite enlightening and saves me from plagiarizing the whole thing.
In short: in the space of 8 paragraphs the Hyper Bowl comes up with at least five demonstrable lies and is sketchy on the rest. Such as when he leaves out the tidbit that Australia's GDP growth is 106th out of 183 countries - nestled comfortably between Burundi and Zimbabwe. You'll have to scroll down to find it and all of the good Zimbabwe economy jokes have already been done.
The closest he comes to the truth is when he says "We have completed our 27th consecutive year of economic growth..."
Not quite coincidentally 27 years ago was 1991. The year the best treasurer in Australian history and our greatest economic reformist, Paul John Keating, became Prime Minister.
It also includes the 6 years of so-called "chaos" and "economic mismanagement" between 2007-2013 that saw Australia miss the global recession.
Australia is much worse off under Liberal economic management of late and this is a trend that dates back throughout their history.
So the next time someone trots out the line of “Liberals are better economic managers” ask them a follow up question. Any follow up question. Because there is absolutely nothing to support this.
And, as ever, to PJK: what would it take for you to come back? We’re sorry, we should never have doubted you.