Mannkal Economic Education Foundation


The World’s Greatest Treasurer?

Ron Manners

1 November 2011

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One of the joys of returning to Australia is the experience of observing the priorities that beset Australians, locked away in our corner of the world.

While the world grapples with all manner of catastrophes, both natural and government-induced, four initial impressions overwhelmed me:

1. Australia was basking in the glory of our Wayne Swan being nominated by Euromoney magazine as Finance Minister of the Year (possibly nominated by the National Bank of Greece?) — more on that later.

2. In Canberra, the city was abuzz with delegates to a Breast Conference who were contemplating and defining the two roles of the female breast—namely, as a source of food or as a ‘sexual organ’.

3. In Western Australia, where we now produce 46% of Australia’s exports, the main news was the multiple meetings being held to seek permission to kill a shark deemed responsible for the most recent of the three fatal attacks on swimmers over the previous 7 weeks.

4. Of interest also was the publicity surrounding our Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs (The Hon. Kevin Rudd) now working for several African nations, encouraging Australian miners and explorers to invest and develop new mines in Africa, to compete against Australia’s mining industry.

Australian mineral explorers have already figured out that it’s too difficult ‘getting started’ in Australia due to land access and regulatory impediments and approximately 84% of their exploration budget is already being spent out of Australia.

How long do we expect to be the lucky country?

Well, back to the World’s Greatest Finance Minister.

Let’s look at the basis for these claims.

Yes, the Australian economy is in reasonably good order at the moment, in spite of the Australian Federal Government and its Treasurer.

Its respectable condition lies with our three previous governments — one Liberal and two Labor.

The Hawke/Keating governments (Labor) got the supply side of our economy in good shape and the Howard government (Liberal) eliminated our governmental budgetary problems.

So, we are still living on the fat generated by the three previous good governments.

The following chart graphically illustrates and provides the evidence for this.

Red = Labor; Blue = Debt under the Howard Coalition; Black = Projected

It’s just as Margaret Thatcher said: “Socialism works only until you run out of other people’s money.”

Ron Manners

Nov. 2011

One Response to “The World’s Greatest Treasurer?”

  1. Ron Manners says:

    Hi Ron,

    Thanks again for another enlightening contribution to the democratic debate in Australia.

    One issue which continues to bother me is the lack of rational debate about individual wealth. All focus is continuously on the level of “cash in hand” as though this is only indicator of wealth. Consequently, the Federal Government, “ably” led by Kevin Rudd at the time, split Australia into the “haves”, rich miners and their associated fabricators and contractors, and the “have nots” the hard working poor of the Western Suburbs of Sydney. Nobody is addressing the improvement in capital assets and community benefits of this group the discussion is only about their immediate cash balance.

    Naturally, Governments, with their short term focus, are also cash hungry with no value seen in strategic imperatives which may mature under another government. So why not “kill the golden goose”, the miners success was at their own expense ie they actually paid for the infrastructure, not government, State or Federal. When you do not have capital assets to protect you look at wealth creation differently.

    Similarly, the Unions now want to put their hands on “cash”, they are not in the least bit worried about assets. But I should not be unfair, they do want the assets fabricated in Western Australia, not the Eastern States. And all this means is that there will be more “fly in fly out” of WA or a growth in population which Perth’s infrastructure cannot support. Why doesn’t somebody stop this stupidity and keep the fabrication in the Western Suburbs of Sydney then everyone benefits from the mining boom.

    Regards Graeme