Counterpunch: We saved Australia from a recession
Fresh from declaring that “climate change is crap”, the Opposition has trawled through their repertoire of One Nation emails to emerge with a version of recent economic history that airbrushes out the Global Financial Crisis.
This denial theory being peddled by the Opposition is that the “GFC was crap”. If you listen and watch closely, everything they say and do is based upon this single “article of denial” – that the Global Recession was a figment of Labor’s imagination.
They will tell you that the massive hit to our revenue caused by the collapse of financial markets in 2008, to the tune of $110 billion, simply didn’t happen.
In fact, Jamie Briggs, in his piece today invokes every historical financial challenge of the last decade while conveniently forgetting to mention the largest global downturn since the Great Depression.
The Government isn’t making excuses for tackling head on the enormous economic challenges that have emerged over the past three years, including, most recently, the impact of the disasters in Queensland and Japan.
We have simply taken the necessary decisions to help shield the Australian economy from the worst effects of the GFC and manage a return to surplus against the backdrop of some hard fiscal realities.
Tony Abbott and the Opposition deliberately deny the economic facts. In fact, they are being downright dishonest with the Australian people.
Fact: Australia, compared to the world’s major advanced economies, avoided recession - in fact our economy began growing while others had yet to stop their slide into negative territory.
Fact: Australia has an unemployment rate of less than 5 per cent when other major economies, like the United States and United Kingdom, are struggling with unemployment rates that are almost double that.
Fact: At a time when those same countries have shed jobs, Australia has created 750,000 new jobs since we came to Government.
Fact: We have the lowest debt and deficit ratios of any major advanced economy in the world, and we will return to surplus earlier than any other comparable nation.
If the Opposition want to talk about waste, they should take some time to reflect on the waste and desolation that they would have wrought on the lives of those Australians who would have lost their jobs if the Coalition had been in power during the GFC.
When it suits Tony Abbott’s scare campaigns, he says he is a champion of Australian jobs. But the reality is he voted against every job creating program under the Government’s stimulus package.
These included tax breaks for small business, the significant investments in nation building infrastructure, new school infrastructure and facilities, support for local community projects through grants to councils and an unprecedented investment in social housing with the construction of almost 20,000 dwellings.
Each of these projects are delivering, and will continue to deliver for many years to come, improvements to the lives and opportunities of millions of Australians as well as serving to keep hundreds of thousands of Australians employed who would have otherwise been out of work during the GFC.
By voting against these projects, Tony Abbott was prepared to send a generation of Australians to the dole queues and consign our economy to the same dismal fate of other nations hit by the global recession – now that truly would have been a waste.
As we prepare to release the Budget next week, we do so against the backdrop of recovering strongly from the GFC but also facing a whole raft of new challenges.
We have to manage the short-term challenge of the hit to our revenue by the recent natural disasters and the impact of the global recession, and we also have to manage the long-term challenges posed by the massive mining investment boom and the demand for skills and labour that it has generated.
The Opposition throw up glib retorts to these massive fiscal challenges but the reality is they have demonstrated a total inability to provide a credible alternative.
The Opposition have failed every opportunity to show that they can come up with the goods when it comes to the Australian economy.
Tony Abbott failed to put forward any savings proposals during his Budget reply speech last year. He passed the ball to Joe Hockey, but frankly he should have just thrown the cut out pass to Andrew Robb, because in the end it was left to Andrew Robb to carry the can.
We all remember how that ended in tears, with Robb getting his numbers wrong by $18 billion.
When it came time to show the Australian public their election costings, the Liberals’ calculations were so bad the Opposition didn’t even give them to Treasury for verification prior to the election. And we now know why: their costings had a whopping great $11 billion hole.
If they had been elected, that would have been a massive black hole that burned through the pockets of every Australian taxpayer.
The Opposition want to talk the talk when it comes to the economy, but they have shown that under Tony Abbott, they wouldn’t even know where to begin.
The Gillard Government has a proud record of supporting jobs through Australia’s toughest fiscal conditions in a generation, and we will continue to step up to the challenges that now face our economy and tackle them head-on.
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