Our economic future

Australia is in its 23rd year of continuous economic growth. The success of the Australian economy is not due to luck or good fortune.

The former Federal Labor Government’s economic management during the Global Financial Crisis ensured that we were one of only three advanced economies out of 34 to avoid recession.


As the Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz said of Australia

“You were lucky to have, probably, the best designed stimulus package of any of the countries, advanced industrial countries, both in size and in design, timing and how it was spent - and I think it served Australia well during the global recession...

That package was delivered early, with cash grants that could be spent quickly followed by longer-term investments that buoyed confidence and activity over time. In many other countries, stimulus was too small and arrived too late, after jobs and confidence were already lost.

In Australia the stimulus helped avoid a recession and saved up to 200,000 jobs. And new research shows that stimulus may have actually reduced government debt over time.

Evidence from the crisis suggests that, when the economy is weak, the long-run tax revenue benefits of keeping businesses afloat and people in work can be greater than the short-run expenditure on stimulus measures. That means that a well-targeted fiscal stimulus might actually reduce public debt in the long run.”

When Federal Labor left office in September 2013, Australia had a Triple A credit rating from all three ratings agencies, unemployment was relatively low by global comparisons and our GDP per capita, which is the real measure of prosperity, rose from a ranking of 17th to eighth in the world.

Labor has an economic record of which we can be proud and we must vigorously defend it.

We must learn from the mistakes made after the 1996 election when Labor walked away from our economic record and allowed ourselves to be defined by the attacks of our opponents.

Indeed, we have already seen the Liberals change economic assumptions to exaggerate the size of the deficit and create a false “budget emergency.” The Coalition has then used this as justification to make deep cuts, particularly to health, education and pensions, which undermine the very fabric of Australian society.

This same tactic was used by Mike Baird. Following the 2011 Election, he falsely concocted a budget black hole to justify his $3 billion cuts to health and $1.7 billion cuts to schools and TAFE.

The Committee notes that this Conference will be held against the backdrop of a public debate about the NSW Coalition’s proposed sale of 49 percent of the State’s electricity distribution network. Labor opposes the sale.

NSW Labor Leader John Robertson has made Labor’s position on this issue clear:

  • This will mean higher electricity prices driving up the cost of living; and

  • NSW will lose $1 billion in revenue from dividends each year.

The Committee notes there was some discussion about fiscal and taxation policy in response to motions submitted from some Party units. The majority of the Committee was of the view that motions calling for an increase in tax revenue and for an increase in state borrowings should be rejected. Labor supports a fair and disciplined taxation regime which provides appropriate revenues to fund quality services for the people of NSW.

Indeed, the best way to increase tax revenue is to get more people into work. Members of the Committee expressed concern at the stubbornly high levels of unemployment in parts of NSW, especially youth unemployment. The State Liberal Government’s cuts to TAFE will simply make this problem worse by denying young people will a pathway to improve their skills. Labor stands for jobs, growth and opportunity for economic progression for all in our communities. 

Party Unit and Union Motions (Click to download)