Minister exaggerates COVID comparison with ‘best economy in the world’ boast


Minister of Trade Dan Tehan talked about the government’s economic credentials boldly claiming that Australia’s economy outperforms every other country in the world post COVID-19.

The allegation is false. Although Australia is among the top countries in terms of recent economic growth, it is not the top performer and falls even lower when comparisons are made over longer periods.

Mr. Tehan made the request during an interview on ABC radio on April 4. Responding to a question about the coalition’s re-election chances, the minister said the government had ensured that Australia “came out of the other side (of the COVID-19 pandemic) in a better way than any other country in the world”. Our economy is doing better than any other country in the world. (audio mark 5min 2sec)

Mr. Tehan’s office did not respond to AAP Fact Check when asked the basis of his claim.

Professor James Morleymacroeconomist at University of Sydneysaid in an email that real GDP growth and unemployment rates can be used to gauge a country’s economic conditions. AAP Fact Check therefore examined how Australia compares to the rest of the world across the two measures.

the OECDWhich one is composed mainly of high-income industrialized countriespublish quarterly real GDP figures for everyone 38 OECD countries plus 10 major non-OECD economies, including China, Brazil, India, Russia and Indonesia.

Comparing real GDP growth only in the last quarter (Q4 2021), Australia ranks fifth among countries for which the OECD lists data, with a quarterly growth rate of 3.4 %. This puts Australia’s quarterly economic growth ahead of major economies like the US (1.7%), Canada (1.6%) and the UK (1.3%), but behind Slovenia (5.4%), Colombia (4.3%). ), Israel (4.1 percent) and Indonesia (3.9 percent).

When analyzing economic data over a longer period, Australia’s real GDP growth puts it closer to the middle of the pack.

Australia’s GDP grew by 4.2% in the most recent year for which figures were available (Q4 2020 to Q4 2021), making it the 31st fastest growing economy. fastest on the list. The growth rate was lower than the OECD average of 4.9% and lower than that of the United Kingdom (6.6%) and the United States (5.5%), but higher than that of Canada (3.3%).

During the two-year period since the COVID-19 pandemic has begun (from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the fourth quarter of 2021), Australia’s real GDP increased by 3.4%, ranking it 15th among countries for which comparable OECD data were available.

This was ahead of the United States (3.2%), Canada (0.1%) and the United Kingdom (-0.4%), but behind European countries such as Poland (4.9%) , Denmark (3.8%) and Norway (3.6 percent), among other OECD and non-OECD countries.

John Hawkinmacroeconomics expert at the University of Canberra National Center for Social and Economic ModelingTold AAP Fact Check that, based on real GDP growth, Mr. Tehan’s claim that Australia outperforms all other countries is false.

Joey Moloneyeconomist at Grattan InstituteTold AAP Fact Check it was true that the australian economy had outperformed G7 countries – the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Japan, France and Italy – since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic but “beyond the G7 economies, this n is clearly not the case”.

Similarly, when comparing unemployment rates, Australia performs well, but trails several other countries.

Since February 2022, Australia’s unemployment rate sitting at 4 percent. However, other major economies said unemployment rates below 4% in the first quarter of the year, including Great Britain (3.9 percent), United States (3.6 percent), Germany (3.0%) and Japan (2.7 percent).

Professor Morley said AAP Fact Check that Australia’s unemployment rate is lower than it was before the pandemic is “a strong indicator” of a robust economic recovery – but it is not the lowest unemployment rate in the world.

The verdict

Australia hasn’t had the best performing economy in the world since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic based on key economic indicators.

While the country’s real GDP grew at the fifth fastest rate among OECD countries and other major economies in the last quarter, Australia is lower in the rankings when comparisons are made on longer periods. The country’s unemployment rate is also improved by several countries, including major economies like the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, and Japan.

Fake – The request is incorrect.

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