The Crest of the Commonwealth of Australia Treasury Portfolio Ministers
Picture of Wayne Swan

Wayne Swan

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer

3 December 2007 - 27 June 2013

7 January 2010


Opposition Leader Blunders Again on Economy

With his latest economic gaffe, Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has demonstrated again his tendency for making ill-informed, factually incorrect statements about the Australian economy.

Mr Abbott's assertion that the Australian economy has performed in the same way as the New Zealand economy is clearly incorrect and shows again that he is prepared to make up his economic claims as he goes along, with no regard for economic facts.

Mr Abbott last night told the ABC's 7.30 Report:

CHRIS UHLMANN: But you would have spent money as well. The Coalition actually backed the first stimulus package, didn't it?

TONY ABBOTT: Yes, which was about a quarter the size of the second stimulus package, which we opposed.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But certainly that money was necessary and it appears to have done the trick.

TONY ABBOTT: But at high price. And if you look across the Tasman, New Zealand has done just as well it seems as Australia without going into anything like the same level of debt and deficit that we have.

These are the basic facts about the relative performance of the Australian and New Zealand economies:

  • The New Zealand economy contracted for five consecutive quarters, from the first quarter of 2008 to the first quarter of 2009 inclusive, to have shrunk by 3.3 per cent over this period. The New Zealand economy remains 2.9 per cent smaller than it was at the end of 2007.
  • By comparison, the Australian economy recorded just one quarter of negative growth (December quarter 2008) and grew by 1.6 per cent over the same five quarter period. The Australian economy has grown by 2.4 per cent since the end of 2007.
  • Australia was the only one of 33 advanced economies to record positive growth over the year to June 2009. At the same time the New Zealand economy contracted by 2.1 per cent.

Mr Abbott has demonstrated again that his assertions about the Australian economy cannot be trusted and are often completely unsubstantiated by facts.

Sound economic management during still difficult economic times requires informed and considered comment which the Rudd Government will continue to provide, while Mr Abbott blunders along making things up as he goes.

7 January 2010