He seemed impressed by the way you came in… but the shine wore off under scrutiny

The average voter has no sense of perspective.

Here’s Google’s Public Data account of Australia’s GDP.  Here’s the same at Wolfram Alpha.  Those are some impressive numbers.  We ought to be proud.

Tony Wright of the Sydney Morning Herald noted a comment at one of Tony Abbott’s press conferences:

[O]ne of his inquisitors pointed out that a $6 billion debt – which Abbott says will be Australia’s annual interest payments under continued Labor spending – is about equal on a GDP basis to someone on a wage of $100,000 having a mortgage of only $6000. Abbott himself has a much larger mortgage than this – did it make him a poor financial manager? Well, in short, no.

When he got that final question, he pointed out that Prime Minister Julia Gillard used to say every boat equalled a policy failure. Every boat, he might just as well have said, meant one fewer question on his economic credentials  — Tony Wright.

$6b debt sounds massive, but it’s tiny in comparison to our GDP.

Similarly:

“Remember the $900 cheques? Forty thousand went either overseas or to dead people. I don’t know what economies they were stimulating but it wasn’t the Australian economy. There was a better way to do it.”  — Joe Hockey, ABC News Online

According to the ATO, at least 8.8 million cheques were sent.  Let us imagine that only 8.8 million were sent.  40,000 is only 0.45%.  As far as error rates go, that’s amazing.

Why does this narrative of outlandish mistakes persist?  I don’t remember the media’s pitchforks being waved when Turnbull (then a minister) wasted $10 million on Russian cloud seeding technology.

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