In fact, at the Liberal Party’s launch on Sunday, Scott Morrison stated that Australia has had the best Covid recovery in the world.
Our economic growth was higher than any other advanced economy, our AAA credit rating is intact, one of only nine countries in the world to do so… By almost every measure: growth, jobs, debt levels, death rates, vaccine rates, recovery of Australia leads the advanced world.
But is Australia’s record so indisputable? And which countries are we referring to when we say that the response is world-improvable?
If the standard of ‘advanced economies’ is G7 countries then Morrison’s boast is correct, but if the standard is the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development it is not.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian economy was 3.4% larger at the end of 2021 than at the start of the pandemic (December 2019 quarter).
According to the OECD, that beats the G7 countries in that period, although the US is a close second (3.1%) and France (0.9%) and Canada (0.2%) were also positive.
In the G20, however, Australia’s performance lags Turkey (14.5%), China (10.2%), India (5.4%) – although these are emerging economies, which in turn have the G20 average higher trailed than the result of Australia (4.1%).
Broadening further, there were some developed countries in the OECD that performed even better.
Australia’s GDP shrank by 2.2% in 2020 and then grew by 4.7% in 2021. That performance was improved by Denmark (-2.1% then 4.7%), Israel (-2.1% then 7.9%), Ireland (5.9% up then 13.5%), New Zealand (-2.1% then 5.6%), Norway (-0.7% then 3.9 % higher). Still, Australia had a better fourth quarter of 2021 than all of these countries except Israel.
According to the OECD, the Australian unemployment rate of 3.954% in March 2022 is higher than in the Czech Republic (2.3%), Germany (2.9%), Hungary (3.2%), Israel (3.8%), Japan ( 2.6%), Korea (2.7%), Mexico and the Netherlands (3.3%) and the US (3.6%).