At the Liberal Party launch on Sunday, Scott Morrison basically declared that Australia has had the best recovery from Covid 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… By almost every measure, growth, jobs, debt levels, mortality rates, vaccination rates, recovery Australia is leading the advanced world.
But is Australia’s record as spotless as that? And what countries do we mean when we say the answer is global?
If the standard for “advanced economies” is the 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 Statistics, Australia’s economy at the end of 2021 was 3.4% larger than it was at the start of the pandemic (December quarter 2019).
According to the OECD, that exceeds the G7 nations during that period, although the US is a close second (3.1%), and France (0.9%) and Canada (0.2%) were also positives.
In the G20, however, Australia’s performance lags behind Turkey (14.5%), China (10.2%), India (5.4%), even though they are developing economies, which in turn dragged the G20 average above the result for Australia (4.1%).
Expanding further, there were some developed countries in the OECD that performed even better.
Australia’s GDP shrank 2.2% in 2020 and then grew 4.7% in 2021. That performance was bettered by Denmark (-2.1% then 4.7%), Israel (-2, 1% and then 7.9%), Ireland (5.9% and then 13.5%), New Zealand (-2.1% and then 5.6%), Norway (-0.7 % and then 3.9%). Still, Australia had a better fourth quarter of 2021 than all of these nations except Israel.
According to the OECD, Australia’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%).