Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Strike three - you're out - Wayne Swan, again, caught out using overblown rhetoric

Download PDFDownload PDF





20 January 2013


The Treasurer struck out three times on his trip to New York.

Each and every time Wayne Swan goes overseas his rhetoric becomes even further overblown and disconnected with reality.

Strike One: The Treasurer tried to lecture the Americans about getting their country’s finances in order, when Wayne Swan’s fiscal recklessness has left Australia with the four largest deficits in Australia’s history and over a quarter of a trillion dollars worth of gross debt.

The Treasurer told potential investors in the US that: “For as long as the can is kicked down the road, we’ll see a huge amount of uncertainty weigh on the decisions of businesses, investors and consumers - both in the US and around the world. A true resolution of America’s debt and deficit issues - forged under President Obama’s continued leadership in 2013 - is the single most important thing America could do for the global recovery.” (Source: Wayne Swan, “G’day USA” Financial Services Luncheon, Harvard Club, New York, 19 January 2013 - emphasis added)

However Wayne Swan has created a “huge amount” of uncertainty at home by dumping his own “rolled gold”, “iron-clad”, “guarantee” to return the budget to surplus in 2012-13.

Australian families and businesses have no idea what taxes will come next to pay for Wayne Swan’s fifth successive deficit and his $120 billion great big budget black hole.

Far from lecturing other nations about kicking the can down the road, Wayne Swan should stop kicking the can down the road on his now broken promise on the surplus guarantee.

The Treasurer should come clean with the Australian people about the state of the budget and be truthful as to when he will return the budget to surplus - after all Wayne Swan said last year that “Coming back to surplus is about making sure we help those people sitting around the kitchen table when they're figuring out how they will make ends meet.”


Strike Two: The Treasurer claimed that his savings will “deliver cumulative savings to the budget of over a quarter of a trillion dollars by 2020-21”, except the Treasurer provided no details of these so-called ‘saves’.

This Government has form in claiming savings that are in fact new or increased taxes. In the 2012-13 MYEFO around 80% of the $16.4 billion claimed saves were revenue measures.

This latest ‘quarter of a trillion dollars’ worth of claimed structural saves extend well beyond the published forward estimates and so cannot be verified from public information.

To back up his claims the Treasurer must immediately provide a detailed list of his $250 billion of structural ‘saves’, including details of the new and increased taxes he is counting as part of the number.

The Treasurer must also have a short memory. Late last year when the Australian Financial Review published details of Wayne Swan’s $120 billion great big budget black hole (assessed over a period out until 2019-2020), Wayne Swan reacted like this:

(The article) “has taken an arbitrary decision to set a new eight-year benchmark of budgeting not applied to any previous government, in order to concoct a sensationalised figure that completely ignores the established facts about the government's record of finding savings and maintaining spending discipline.” (Source: Wayne Swan, Letter to the editor: Gross misinformation does little to further debate, Australian Financial Review, 31 August 2012 - emphasis added)

Strike Three: The Treasurer said “Over the last five years, we’ve successfully managed a big hit to revenues at the same time as we’ve stimulated the economy to protect jobs and then consolidated during the recovery.”

However according to Wayne Swan’s own Mid-Year Budget Update projected revenues for 2012-13 are over $72 billion greater than the last budget of John Howard and Peter Costello.

The Government's total call on present and future taxpayers, which includes tax, dividends and borrowings, in the 2011-12 year was nearly 26 per cent of gross domestic product. That is higher than in any year of the previous Coalition Government. The average for the Coalition years was 23.4 per cent.

On the spending side, the comparison is even worse for Wayne Swan. This year Labor is forecast to spend $91 billion more than the last Budget of the Coalition. The Government also has significant “off-Budget” spending such as the National Broadband Network and from this year onwards, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Waste under Wayne Swan continues to this day, with $110 million being spent on the Government’s carbon tax advertising and public relations campaign.