It must be to the eternal frustration of Treasurer Wayne Swan that, while the rest of the world thinks he is genius, Australians are considerably less sanguine when it comes to his fiscal abilities.

Don't you guys like me even THIS much? Pic: Kym Smith

Labor’s own research reveals the depths to which Swan has failed to excite us about how wonderful the domestic economy is. What will really get his goat is that, according to research conducted by the Labor researchers leaked to The Daily Telegraph, people reckon Joe Hockey is a far better bloke.

Swan has been Treasurer for almost five years, and has seen Australia through the worst economic crisis in modern times - compared to Hockey’s short stint as financial services minister more than a decade ago and the current two and a half years as Swan’s shadow.

Unlike Swan, Hockey has a spot on Sunrise.

Swan’s net positive rating in June was negative 22. As counter-intuitive as this marketing measure appears, it essentially means people don’t like him. Hockey’s was plus four. Which only means that people dislike him less. You get the picture.

What is telling about this research is that Swan has become more unpopular over time. In September 2010, for example, he was only at negative six. It is yet unclear whether his Springsteen moment has endeared him.

But the revealing bits in the research went to questions about people’s expectations of the economy and their own financial outlook. Since late 2010 people’s personal financial outlook, economic expectations and optimism had all flatlined.

People’s outlook had gone from negative eight to negative 34 by the week of the budget. Hopes for a long-term improvement in their lot also hit a record low of negative 23.

That was until late May. Following the budget, when the handouts began to sink in with punters and up until July after the carbon tax came in and didn’t blow up the world, all the indicators began to tick up. Not dramatically, but enough to suggest people have become less pessimistic than they have been for a long time.

The confounding issue for Swan is that people’s regard for his job performance went backwards - with 53 per cent of people being either very or somewhat dissatisfied with him as Treasurer.

What it suggests is that, if the government could indeed manage to sell water to a man in the desert, that man wouldn’t want to buy it off Swan. Kevin Rudd was always concerned about Swan as Treasurer precisely for this reason. He would have preferred Lindsay Tanner or Chris Bowen, with an economics degree from UNSW, or even Craig Emerson, who has a PhD in the subject.

While the rest of the world has warmed to Swan, Australians haven’t. But then people’s perceptions and expectations of the economy and those in charge of it have changed since the GFC.

The other thing that has changed is the fiscal outlook, which arguably is a bigger political headache for Swan.

Treasury boss Martin Parkinson has warned people will need to lower their expectations of what governments will be able to deliver in the future because of the growing gap between the demands on and the revenues than can be generated by government. He says governments will not be able to meet their policy spending agendas by merely cutting more out of the public service.

This has direct implications for the Gillard government, which has clearly now set its second term agenda into the next election around massive long-term spending priorities, particularly the National Disabilities Insurance Scheme and the yet to be announced school funding reform package in response to the Gonski review of education.

The cost of these alone could be as high as $15 billion a year if implemented fully - although the states would wear part of the cost of both. There is also a more immediate problem of the billions which will need to be spent on adopting the recommendations of the Houston report into solving the asylum seeker issue.

Parkinson has suggested that raising taxes may become the only option left for governments.

Ken Henry’s similar warnings this week have particular implications for Sydney and NSW.

His greatest concern is that our major cities don’t have the infrastructure to cater for another 14 million Australians.

He could have gone further and admitted  we clearly don’t even have the infrastructure to cope with the demands of the current population - which is nowhere more evident than in Sydney and the appalling lack of transport infrastructure and an outstanding capital works list of more than $100 billion.

“The fundamental question of course confronting all of us about that infrastructure build requirement is how’s it going to be funded?” Henry said.

Simon Benson is the National Political Editor of The Daily Telegraph.

Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEST.

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76 comments

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    • Little Joe says:

      06:51am | 24/08/12

      I don’t know ..... maybe it’s all the failed policies. Maybe it’s because he publishes BS Budgets like the 2010 Election Budget that had unattainable figures and, at the end of 2011-12, we are over $50B worse off than what was estimated.

      I simply do not understand why journalists choose to ignore the economic facts.

      Ps. A big thanks to the moderators at The Punch who continually publish budget and economic data that I present.

    • I hate pies says:

      07:24am | 24/08/12

      Well put, although you forgot to mention that when he opens his mouth it’s plain to any thinking person that the man has no idea what he’s talking about…that and the unjustifiable hate of big business. The treasurer hates business - theres a good sign for our future economic prosperity.

    • I hate pies says:

      07:25am | 24/08/12

      Well put, although you forgot to mention that when he opens his mouth it’s plain to any thinking person that the man has no idea what he’s talking about…that and the unjustifiable hate of big business. The treasurer hates business - theres a good sign for our future economic prosperity.

    • Borderer says:

      09:08am | 24/08/12

      You also forgot to mention that the New Jersey politicians all laughed at him for his Springstien comments, what a tool.
      Clive Palmer spent weeks taking the piss about running against him in the next election and he strutted around like a peacock when Palmer moved on to his next joke. Clueless
      Now mining investment is tanking, and its got nothing to do with a mining super tax or carbon tax (direct costs added by the government) but everything to do with other immeasurable issues that absolutely has nothing to do with the labor…. hmmm if only they could have hung that on Tony Abbott as well….

    • Jimbob says:

      10:36am | 24/08/12

      If you listen to him, he’s often got quite sensible views. However, it’s the lack of charisma in delivering those views that fail him.

      If you look at someone like Obama in his big early speeches, he pretty much said nothing worthwhile, yet the intonation and delivery of the words made all the difference.

      This is something that fails Swan and to a smaller extent Gillard.

    • Babylon says:

      10:48am | 24/08/12

      Why didn’t he regulate the Banks so they would have to pass on the Rate cuts to us and our mortgages?

      Why didn’t he control the over priced Dollar to protect our exports and Businesses like Merv King has done with the Pound in the UK?

      For the May 2011 budget Swan said he was going to instil incentives that would create 500,000 jobs, reducing unemployment to 4.5 percent, because he believed unemployment at 5,195 percent was not acceptable for a country enjoying a magnificent mining boom. Whats the unemployment rate? 5.2 percent.

      The blokes a flop.

    • sir ronald bradnam says:

      06:53am | 24/08/12

      Quack, Quack.

    • cheap white trash says:

      07:00am | 24/08/12

      Why Australians still see Swan as a lame duck.

      No, most Aussie think Duffy Duck could do a better job.
      Its easy for the lame duck to waste Tax payers money on all the cock ups that these Imbos have had,but Gee when the Fat Lady comes knocking on my door wanting her money back,thats when the penny will Drop.
      But who gives a Rats Ass these Imbos wont be in power then,but will still have there Snouts in the Trough,and we will all be paying for there mess for ys to come.
      Lame Duck,soon to be a Dead Duck..

    • P. Walker says:

      07:01am | 24/08/12

      The guy has tourettes, leave the idiot alone.

    • acotrel says:

      08:34am | 24/08/12

      At least he is not psychotic like that other idiot.

    • TimB says:

      08:38am | 24/08/12

      We will. As soon as he leaves us (and our wallets) alone.

    • Babylon says:

      12:44pm | 24/08/12

      The Gillard Government is managing our economy. It’s all over it!

      the Gillard Government says the Mining boom IS over.
      the Gillard Government says the Mining boom is NOT over.

      ??????????????????????????????????????????

      the Gillard Government says it cares about losing $30 billion out of the economy that it manages, demonstrated by the fact it bothered to read the TWO page statement relating to the loss.
      the Gillard Government didn’t realise till later that it was only a ONE page statement relating to the loss of $30 billion.
      the Gillard Government therefore did not read the ONe page statement either. Worse because they are the managers of the economy.

      Why didn’t the Government see this coming?

      Conclusion: the Gillard government rides the crest of a lucky wave, of which it has no skills to control.

      Wise up!

    • Babylon says:

      02:45pm | 24/08/12

      Looks like Swans CARBON TAX and MRRT has buggered the Mining Boom:

      BHP Billiton head Marius Kloppers has told European investors that Australia’s carbon and mining taxes have helped to render the nation’s coal industry unworthy of further investment at this time.
      Despite reassuring Australians that the taxes were not to blame for BHP’s mothballing of the $US30 billion Olympic Dam expansion, Mr Kloppers referred to both when telling British media that new investments in Australia’s coal sector would not be profitable.


      Read more: http://www.theage.com.au/business/taxes-a-drag-on-coal-kloppers-warns-investors-20120823-24oyp.html#ixzz24R4WMlQ3

    • taxed citizen says:

      07:01am | 24/08/12

      ..as lame goose rather..

    • craig2 says:

      07:04am | 24/08/12

      So are we now to say the qld government has got it right by making the hard decisions to get the books back in order? All this labor government has done is blow a surplus, build a two generation debt and it wants to fund how much to support gonski and disability with what means to pay for it? Sort the damn debt first and stop treating our finances like a credit card, give our miners a little respect and dont lie to me about supporting Julia’s assertations of no carbon tax under the government I lead, that is why swanny sucks as treasurer.

    • General Chauvin says:

      07:05am | 24/08/12

      Why close the comments sections on the Julia Gillard article? This smacks of misandry., and is really quite sexist.

    • gobsmack says:

      07:14am | 24/08/12

      Treasurers are always unpopular.  Look at Keating and Costello.

      Swan is the quiet achiever of the Gillard government.  No scandals and a steady hand on the tiller of the economy.  A real champ IMHO.

    • Simian says:

      07:46am | 24/08/12

      Bet your grandkids paying back his national debt don’t come to the same conclusion.

    • Zaan says:

      07:47am | 24/08/12

      Australia, when the Labor government took over had a surplus of $20 Billion, as of 7.45 EST the Australian government debt was $1229,144,385.00 and growing by the second.
      Please explain to me how that translates to a “steady hand on the tiller”, and what do we have to show for the debt.

    • Dash says:

      07:51am | 24/08/12

      Shame he got last years budget wrong by $22biliion and will never deliver a surplus now Nauru has killed off the ridiculous $1.5b cooked book. He has presided over the biggest defecits in our nations history. And the ALP will never pay off the debt they have racked up in just 4 years. What a champ! Lol

    • Zaan says:

      07:53am | 24/08/12

      Sorry, that is hundreds of billions, left off a couple of zero’s.

    • Alfie says:

      07:55am | 24/08/12

      ‘quiet achiever’ lol. Useless twit is closer to the mark.

    • NicoleG says:

      08:25am | 24/08/12

      Hahaha gobsmack. A quiet achiever? A real champ? LOL

      I humbly thank you for the huge larf you have given me today.

    • acotrel says:

      08:43am | 24/08/12

      @Zaan
      So nothing important happened in October 2008 ?
      What ‘we have to show for the debt’ is an economy which is the envy of nearly every other country on the planet.
      The GFC happened on Dubya’s watch,-  it was caused by the unrestrained greed of the friends of the right of US politics !

    • jaki says:

      09:02am | 24/08/12

      Ah, failure is the new success !
      Pat yourself on the back, Labor.

    • Dash says:

      10:19am | 24/08/12

      acotrel - lol. We do not have an economy that is the envy of the western world because Wayne Swan racked up debt and record budget defecits.

      That is such a silly comment!

      I would suggest the state of our economy has more to do with the financial services reforms implemented by the Hawke Keating governments, the economic management of the LNP over 11 years and China’s appetite for our natural resources.

      Under Swan and this ALP government, we have the highest manufacturing labour cost of any nation in the world. And we have declining productivity growth at a time when the rest of the world’s is increasing!

      The Howard LNP government, left zero debt (paid off $96 billion from the previous Labor government). How many other western countries entred 2008 with zero debt? In fact they left over $26b in surplus to Rudd. In addition, the Howard govrenment implenmented the Financial Services Reform Act which assisted in protecting the balance sheets of Australian Banks.

      The RBA increased interest rates to slow the over heating of the Australian economy after the ALP wasted billions on an excessive second stimulus. Waste!

      It would be wonderful for you to give credit where it is due. I put it to you, that if we had 11 years of ALP government, there is no way when October 2008 arrived, we would have had zero debt and money in the bank!

    • simonfromlakemba says:

      11:22am | 24/08/12

      Good job Gobsmack, you roped them all in!..haha

    • acotrel says:

      07:38am | 24/08/12

      Swan is too quietly spoken to be a real politician.  He needs to become carping and poisonous !

    • Little Joe says:

      08:38am | 24/08/12

      He has been poisonous ..... to our future prosperity!!!

    • jaki says:

      09:04am | 24/08/12

      What, be a male version of Gillard ?

    • Dash says:

      09:04am | 24/08/12

      Perhaps he could set up an association to be used as a union slush fund for one of his mates? That would make him PM material!

    • Anubis says:

      09:16am | 24/08/12

      Like you Acotrel?

    • Alfie says:

      07:45am | 24/08/12

      Swan has an Arts Degree. That is his high water mark.

    • acotrel says:

      08:32am | 24/08/12

      And Tony Abbott was a RHODES SCHOLAR !

    • Little Joe says:

      08:36am | 24/08/12

      Damn!! I thought that mocking Art’s Students was my realm??

      Maybe that’s why Journos (mainly ex-arts students) don’t publish the real economic data ..... protecting their own!!

    • Shane says:

      07:46am | 24/08/12

      I can think of 250 billion reasons why I think Swan is a moron.

      Using a simple mortgage repayments calculator I worked out that if the budget suddenly goes into surplus (despite the slowdown in the mining industry), and we make repayments of 1.3 billion dollars per month, the debt as it stands now will take 50 years to repay. All you out there with infants, take a look at your kids and tell yourself that your kid will most likely be a grandparent before the debt is paid.

      And that’s assuming that Swan and Gillard manage to get into surplus and the country stays there for the next 5 decades. It’s much more likely that they will continue to run up even more debt, possibly breaking the 300 billion dollar mark.

      Wonderful thought, isn’t it?

    • acotrel says:

      08:53am | 24/08/12

      We could easily save money by withdrawing our troops from the war in which Howard got us involved.

    • Treasurer Duck Duck Goose says:

      09:21am | 24/08/12

      Is that taking in to account the $100 million a day that we are borrowing in order to meet our wonderful society friendly promises? Together we are us an we are moving forward

    • Shane says:

      10:21am | 24/08/12

      Acotrel, if we hadn’t gone at all, the money we would have saved from the start of the Afghanistan war until June 2013 would allow us to make 6 repayments at the above figures. 6 down, 594 more payments to find. Any more suggestions?

    • Steve Douglas says:

      10:45am | 24/08/12

      Geez acotrel you have have such a simple mind.  Yor beloved ALP has been in powe since 2007 and we are still in that war. That tells me they support it just as much as Mr Howard. You appear to not be able to understand that.  Hey but what else is new.

    • acotrel says:

      01:10pm | 24/08/12

      @Steve Douglas
      How can any Australian government walk away from a defence commitment when it involves America ?  The truth is as Malcolm Fraser put it - unless we do something for ourselves we will never be able to act independently.  A minute ago we had defence manufacturing in Australia.  Thanks to you lot with your short sightedness, we now buy every defence requirement from the Yanks.

    • Daniel says:

      07:48am | 24/08/12

      After reading his piece in the ABC Drum site he has totally gone up in my estimations a true socialist. this guy is in the wrong political party though. He needs to join Greens.

    • Big Jay says:

      07:49am | 24/08/12

      “if the government could indeed manage to sell water to a man in the desert, that man wouldn’t want to buy it off Swan” - That’s gold.

      I have to admit I dont mind the govt we have now, but even I don’t like Swan as Treasurer, and certainly wouldn’t call him world class.

      However, I’m not sure what Australians expect from the Federal Govt/Treasurer(ry)...Every attempt to cut spending has been hit back with vehement opposition from every interest group and the LNP. Same with every attempt to raise taxes. Same with every attempt to build infrastructure (granted the BER was terrible, insulation was/is a good idea, same with NBN, QLD Flood recovery).

      So if people are going to whinge when they cut middle class welfare, and whinge about any tax increase from alcopops to mining super-profits. How would one get to a balanced budget?..Stop building infrastucture like John Howard did?...not sure thats a great solution.

    • acotrel says:

      08:20am | 24/08/12

      John Howard didn’t ‘stop building infrastructure’.  The Liberal party never builds infrastructure anyway !  They sit on their fat bums holding tight to the purse strings while the economy contracts or at best remains stationary.  They wait for the ALP to do it’s good stuff, implementing change and investing in our future.

    • Little Joe says:

      08:49am | 24/08/12

      “insulation was/is a good idea”, well I know 4-families that didn’t think it was a great idea ..... let alone the ones that had their house burnt to the ground.

      When Swan announced the plan he said that people doing that work would require minimal re-training ..... not appropriate re-training!!! He and Garrett immediately released an unsafe program (panic mode) that they knew would have people installing insulation in peoples houses that could not possibly have received appropriate training.

    • Bomb78 says:

      10:00am | 24/08/12

      Infrastructure like the NBN? The one that is costing nearly 5 times as much per person as the NZ equivalent?
      NZ fibre network - A$364 million per one million people connected (NZ$1.5 billion for 75% coverage of 4.4 million people at a A$1=NZ$1.25 exchange rate)
      Australia’s fibre network - A$1,772 million per one million people connected (A$37.4 billion for 93% coverage of 22.7 million people)

    • Little Joe says:

      11:16am | 24/08/12

      @ Acotrel

      Please stop with the silly, immature notion that the Liberals and Nationals don’t build anything.

      Literally every single piece of federal infrastructure that was built from 1950 to 1982 was built or co-funded by the Liberals ..... including the Snowy Hydro Dam. In the states Queensland 1957 - 1989; Victoria 1955 - 1982; Western Australia 1953 -1983 (all but a few years).

      Your statements are silly

    • Big Jay says:

      01:21pm | 24/08/12

      @Little Joe - They had to rush because of the rapid onset of the GFC, if they had sorted every issue with training then another bunch of complainers would complain they were too slow, and they wouldn’t have prevented a serious recession.

      @Bomb78 - What’s your point?...It’s costs way more than the NZ network, so what? Australia is a different country with different attributes (land size being an obvious one).

      I’m not here to make excuses for Swan and the ALP. I’m saying no matter what they do or don’t do large segments of media, interest groups and the LNP are there to complain. This forms the opinions of vast numbers of average punters.

      There is a saying “He who doesn’t make mistakes, doesn’t make anything”. People bagging out the govt for difficulty with their infrastructure projects obviously doesn’t see all the issues the private sector has with their major projects (of a significant and novel nature, I don’t mean building a road or a house). NOBODY is perfect, and virtually nobody (public sector or private) can deliver large, novel projects without any problems.

    • Bho Ghan-Pryde says:

      03:43pm | 24/08/12

      Well actually guys neither the ALP or the Liberals have ever funded or built a single piece of infrastructure - the tax payer paid for it all down to the last cent and paid the wages of the ALP and Liberal politicians on whose watch it happened. You are flees arguing over who controls the dog you live on.

    • Bomb78 says:

      04:55pm | 24/08/12

      My point is that just because the ALP government is investing in infrastructure doesn’t make it good infrastructure. We’ll have a great NBN but it’ll take decades to pay for.
      New Zealand is a good comparison - they have a less centralised population, and whilst their landmass is smaller it is mountainous; their second biggest city is about 800 kilometres from their largest, with a tricky piece of water in between. Their labour market is deeply affected by ours - plenty of NZ tradies working here for good money, have been for thirty years or more - yet somehow they manages to do it for a fifth of the price, and in shorter time frames too. How? I’d argue that the first advantage they have is a competent government!
      The ALP is about to blow the arse out of another generation of RAN submarines too. That’s just not bad for the budget, but for the submariners that’ll serve on them and the defense capabilities we will have going forward.
      Our governments have a moral right to get the biggest bang for our tax dollars. On this score the current government fails badly.

    • Joan says:

      08:06am | 24/08/12

      Anyone who turns a $20 billion surplus into $200 billion debt in just five years isn’t considered smart.

    • JoniM says:

      11:55am | 24/08/12

      Not to be confused with the miracle of the loaves and fishes !
      And despite his bohemian appearance in his Youtube clips, he is definitely not the promised one !

    • Achmed says:

      08:17am | 24/08/12

      People want maternity leave, baby bonuses, disability scheme, more money for schools, more money for transport, more money for infrastructure, more money for health.  And where does that money come from?  The only source of income the Govt has is taxes.
      If you want more you have to pay more.
      We are fortunate there was a surplus when the GFC hit.  The thing to remember is that Howard didn’t create the surplus because he knew the GFC was coming.  It was created because he didn’t spend the money on health, transport, education and infrastructure etc. He put the money in the “bank” rather than spend it to improve the lives of the taxpayer.
      Now because he didn’t spend the money Labor are playing catch up.  For example Abbott reduced the number of training positions in health, gave Howard $1billion to add to that surplus.  Now we have a doctor shortage that Labor are trying to fix.
      Some of that surplus could have been spent fixing some of Sydney’s transport problems like building that rail to the western suburbs, but Howard prefered the money in the bank rather than spend on Aussies.

      I don’t agree with a lot of our Govt spending priorities. 

      But I’m happy we still have our trple ‘A’ credit rating, 5% unemployment, official interst rates around 3% and the lowest GDP to debt ratio in the world.

      Could things be better, yes they could!!  We would be a few millions better off if people hadn’t stolen and rorted the BER and Pink Batts.  And the sooner they are all convicted nd made to pay the money back the better.  We would be better off if people didn’t steal taxpayer money by rorting child care, the dole etc.  Or even just paid their taxes.
      Would we be better off if we had a Liberal Govt?  I doubt it.

    • dibatag says:

      08:22am | 24/08/12

      The man is an idiot, if it was not for the mineing boom we would be in one hell of a mess, if he is the best in the world god help us all.

    • AJ says:

      08:52am | 24/08/12

      “his Springsteen moment”

      All this did was confirm how much of a tosser the bloke really is..

    • Steve Douglas says:

      10:35am | 24/08/12

      There is one thing that has turned me off this man (and the Government he represents) is their admitted and gleeful attempts at class warfare.  He purposefully sets out to divide this country through this process so his party can win the next election. Hawke and Keating never behaved this way. I will never support this ALP Government whilst they continue with this deliberate and damaging behavior.  As far as the economy is concerned, yes it is powering along greatly in some areas but disastrously in other areas ( i.e. manufacturing).  But the worst aspect has to be with debt and Mr Swann never addresses this or tells us how we as a country are going to address it.  This massive debt will be his legacy.

    • Gianna says:

      12:25pm | 24/08/12

      “There is one thing that has turned me off this man (and the Government he represents) is their admitted and gleeful attempts at class warfare. “

      Could not agree more.  The 40s style class warfare shows up the intellect of the man in stark relief.

    • youdy beaudy says:

      10:49am | 24/08/12

      If Abbott and his mob win the next election then with whoever he puts in as treasurer we will see what that new treasurer does. Well, it may be better the devil you know. Joe Hockey as Treasurer, will it be better. Will he be a shining knight for the populace. Will he as Treasurer stuff the ordinary man and woman and give it all to those who don’t need anymore.

      Well, people can run down the current Treasurer as much as they like but if may well be that a NLP one may not be any good at all. Presuming that they the NLP will run it better is a bit stupid as this will not be known until they get in. There is no guarantee that Abbott and co will be better than the current Government so people should ease off a bit. But to satisfy the disgruntled Libs out there they really need Jesus to run it, because they have no one else that would necessarily be any good. Go figure.!

    • Johnno says:

      11:18am | 24/08/12

      Swannie was simply never up to the job from day one.  He has manfully continued to be not up to the job ever since.  He has been an abject failure as a Treasurer as his job, like any financial controller is to say “No you cannot have a bucket of money for your hare brained scheme - bugger off until you can establish that it is commercially viable…  He is the reason that I can never vote for this mob of clowns - much more so than our much maligned Dear Leader.  We do not like him because he is hopeless.  As for Swannies intellect - you just cannot put in what God left out.  That is his core problem.

    • Johnno says:

      11:18am | 24/08/12

      Swannie was simply never up to the job from day one.  He has manfully continued to be not up to the job ever since.  He has been an abject failure as a Treasurer as his job, like any financial controller is to say “No you cannot have a bucket of money for your hare brained scheme - bugger off until you can establish that it is commercially viable…  He is the reason that I can never vote for this mob of clowns - much more so than our much maligned Dear Leader.  We do not like him because he is hopeless.  As for Swannies intellect - you just cannot put in what God left out.  That is his core problem.

    • James O says:

      11:24am | 24/08/12

      Wayne Swan is a highly experienced campaigner, it is one of the important political assetts that allows him to retain his high public profile on the front bench. If he were not treasurer he would not remain idle in the background waiting for the PM to promote him up the ladder, no better example is this is his relationship with Rudd which was pushed aside to maintain his status with Gillard. Swan has successfully identified himself with the nations booming mining economy knowing full well that any change of treasurer will cause even further damage to the economic credibility of the government. As a public performer Swan also knows how to play the media salesman and is not easily distracted from message, he is always careful to enforcise policy initiatives which is a good way of distracting analysis of disputable statistics especially into the future. Swan is also a realist he forsees the potential end to his political career at the next election and will see it as a mark of his character to fulfill the benchmarks of his term in office. His status as a politician will be rightly judged by this. Is he a good treasurer?, well,a treasurer is only as good as the economy, Australia has been very fortunate to have China, the cards were somewhat in Swan’s favour from the start, if Australia was like europe it would be interesting to see his true initiative in running the economy, from that point of view he has not been tested.

    • David C says:

      11:24am | 24/08/12

      to (roughly) quote Joe Hockey “working out what is between Wayne Swan’s ears is one of life’s great challenges”.

      next time you hear him speak just count how many times he says “öf course”

    • David D says:

      03:20pm | 24/08/12

      Dont forget ‘fundamentally” and “working families” too!

    • AJ says:

      05:25pm | 24/08/12

      “put in place”

    • Economist says:

      11:47am | 24/08/12

      It’s pathetic the attempts to rewrite history, by a pack of idiots. Australia has enjoyed solid growth for 20 years, and has benefited from both Labor and Liberal governments.

      For starters Little Joe goes on about his budget analysis that’s half arsed. Yes they are estimates and they’re regularly wrong. Even during Howard’s day’s but in his case it was revenues being under estimated. Yes, the Howard government paid down debt of the back or record receipts, they provided significant income tax and superannuation tax cuts and increased middle class welfare dramatically. The budget tables show this with record receipts and spend figures from 2000/01 to 2007/08 just look at the percentage of GDP. The Liberals governed over a combined debt and mining boom where the Terms of Trade pushed up individual and company incomes. Shit if it wasn’t for their record spending we could have acquired a surplus into the 100s of billions. The surplus of $20B you all love to crap on about was simply on paper as much as Swan’s 1.5B surplus is (personally he won;t make it). Revisions have wiped it out because of the structural deficit left by Howard and Co. The same criticisms that your leveling against Swan can be made of Costello, spend thrift and waster.

      Yep Swan increased spending dramatically in response to what was shaping up as the worst recession since the depression. The first stimulus package, supported by the Liberals, was targeted at retail, but by March 2008 retail again took a dip and construction was heading South, so more cash was handed out and two programs were put in place and rushed out. 

      Yet again others crap on about BER and Batts and are speaking out of their backsides.  BER was a success, stop reading the Australian its full of shit. Read the Audit report, or for those too thick to pick one up here’s a summary. http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com.au/2010/05/anao-report-on-ber-fact-meets-narrative.html

      Batts was a disaster in it’s affect on the industry, but had some benefits in insulating over a million homes. 

      The fact is the Libs resided over an economy that was experiencing one of it’s longest and largest booms. Labor not so much with the terms of trade still preventing a full on recession but with some sectors, mainly services and manufacturing taking a hit for vastly different reasons.

    • AdamC says:

      12:35pm | 24/08/12

      @Economist, it seems a little nit-picky to complain that Costello *only* delivered surpluses measured in the tens of billions rather than the hundreds of billions. No government could realistically do that. Also, I see this ‘structural deficit’ claim as a little too cute. It is tough to run a surplus when the economy is off the boil, as Swansong is finding.

      On the whole, however, you remain a difficult man to disagree with. Have you ever considered using your powers for good, rather than evil?

      Incidentally, Swansongs problem is not so much one of low growth but falling wealth. People are unhappy because their houses have stopped rising in value and their superannuation balances have been hit by sharemarket losses. In that context, the Treasurer’s swagger grates.

    • Economist says:

      01:02pm | 24/08/12

      AdamC, I appreciate your calm and rational response to my boorish assertions, my frustration is showing.

      There are many things to admire about the Howard government, but they did waste money, just as Labor have wasted money. I get upset when people make wild claims like Labor have never delivered surpluses or the Liberals have never invested in infrastructure. Both are false. Different times require different priorities and with hindsight comes the advantage of allowing oppositions to claim they would have done it better.

      No amount of prattling on by me is going to change people’s minds on these issues, but when I read constant claims that we’re all ruined I can’t take it seriously. You rightly point out the circumstances that people have adjusted their expectations from the debt boom, that people have less confidence and clearly they’re indicating they’d have more confidence in a Liberal Government, based on current polls. But cliams that the Liberals are more economically responsible are nonsense, they’re both as bad as one another, just in different areas.

    • Black Dynamite says:

      05:26pm | 24/08/12

      For someone who can analyse the economy in such depth do you think it should be a pre-requesite that the qualifications of whoever manages our economy should be more than a BA?

      BD

    • PhoenixGirl says:

      12:50pm | 24/08/12

      How about because he lied to the Australian people just like Gillard did. He is a LIAR and a joke just like this commie illegitimate prime minister.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xT4RUHccAqM

      Take a look at our debt before Labor came to power, now take another look.
      These and the rest of their Labor cronies should be declared “enemies of the state” considering how much they hate Australia and its people.

    • HappyG says:

      12:52pm | 24/08/12

      Lay off Swanny he’s a great bloke and so loyal…...........just ask Kev. Wouldn’t trust the wanker an inch.

    • Esteban says:

      01:23pm | 24/08/12

      People think he is a wood duck because he is a Fabian socialist.

      Fabians believe the blame for all of the world’s problems can be laid at the feet of white western capatilist democracies.

      They dedicate their life to dismantling western democracies not by sudden revolution but a lifelong battle of brick by brick , policy by policy.

      For the Fabian it is more about the battle than the victory. They are in it for the battle not the victory. The dream is far better than the reality.

      That is why they seem so content in opposition.

      Fabian’s are good for philosophical discussions at the tavern at university and generally harmless while they battle away but they are not supposed to actually get into power.

      Deep down they don’t even wont the power because their ideas get put to the test. What must it be like to find out that something you dedicated your life to turned out to be a load of shit?

      It is too humiliating to acknowledge the truth but never mind the sanctuary of opposition awaits where you will be safe amongst the nodding heads of like minded individuals.

      Safe in the comforting bosom of socailism biding your time for a new generation of idealists to emerge.

    • the moor says:

      04:23pm | 24/08/12

      Wayne Swann did an amazing job steering us through the GFC and avoiding a recession.  He has my admiration.

    • Alfie says:

      07:59pm | 24/08/12

      Swan ‘steered’ us into the greatest deficit in Australian history. Your grand-children will still be paying for this fools incompetence.

    • Swamp Thing says:

      05:46pm | 24/08/12

      Swanny reminds me of that old song “There aint half been some lucky bastards”.
      It sure aint talent & ability that got him the job.

    • jonesy says:

      07:34pm | 24/08/12

      well I suppose we could have had the Treasurer from Greece, Porugal, Italy or Spain.  or even the mess called the USA or perhaps even Britain.

      Some people just dont know when they are well off

 

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