At the Liberal party launch on Sunday, Scott Morrison basically declared 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 to do that in the world… On almost every measure, growth, jobs, debt levels, fatality rates, vaccine rates, Australia’s recovery is leading the advanced world.
But is Australia’s record as unimpeachable as that? And which countries are we referring to when we say the response is world-beating?
If the standard of “advanced economies” is G7 nations, 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 StatisticsAustralia’s economy at the end of 2021 was 3.4% bigger than it was at the start of the pandemic (December quarter, 2019).
According to the OECDthat beats G7 nations over 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 developing economies, which in turn dragged the G20 average higher than Australia’s result (4.1%).
Broadening out further, there were some developed countries in the OECD that performed even better.
Australia’s GDP shrank 2.2% in 2020 then grew by 4.7% in 2021. That performance was bettered by Denmark (-2.1% then up 4.7%), Israel (-2.1% then up 7.9%), Ireland (up 5.9% then up 13.5 %), New Zealand (-2.1% then up 5.6%), Norway (-0.7% then up 3.9%). Still, Australia had a better fourth quarter of 2021 than all these nations, except Israel.
According to the OECDAustralia’s March 2022 unemployment rate of 3.954% is higher than 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%).