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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11221


Mr FRYDENBERG (Kooyong) (13:50): The Australian people have been subject to a great political swindle. Wayne Swan, we are told by Euromoney magazine, is the world's greatest Treasurer. We knew things were bad in Europe but not that bad. The Treasurer's record in economic management is so poor that giving him this award is like making Ronnie Biggs deputy sheriff or Lehman Brothers bank of the year.

Wayne Swan is, in Mark Latham's words, a 'machine man' whose performance in the role has been 'insipid'. A burgeoning bureaucracy, a ballooning budget deficit, lower productivity and 19 new taxes is not much of a fiscal CV, not to mention a reregulated workforce, a greater incidence of sovereign risk and a higher debt ceiling—all characteristics of classic tax-and-spend Labor.

Anyone can throw money at a problem, but the trick is to know where to spend, how much to spend and when to stop. Wayne Swan fails on all counts. The Australian people are right to ask this government: where are your big economic reforms to overcome infrastructure bottlenecks, to streamline the financial system and to save the proceeds from the China-led boom? To paraphrase Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, Labor is missing the opportunity to fix the roof while the sun is shining.

In awarding Wayne Swan this award, I cannot help but believe this is a case of mistaken identity. It was Treasurer Peter Costello who delivered a 20 per cent increase in real wages, two million new jobs, low inflation and the lowest unemployment in 30 years. He would have been a much more deserving winner.