Abbott’s Politburo Propaganda

On Thursday last week the document Coalition Speaker’s Notes (sic) fell off the back of a truck into Crikey’s hands. In its use of selective and fudged statistics its style is reminiscent of the propaganda pamphlets of the communist governments from the 1960s.

It is peppered with emotive and unsubstantiated statements about Labor’s economic mismanagement and the massive government debt Labor has bequeathed to young Australians.

Like those pamphlets it is written for the most gullible. For example, in its hagiography of John Howard it says The former Coalition government increased higher education funding by 13 per cent in real terms, immediately followed by the statement Between 1995 and 2005, the number of students in Australian universities increased by 58 per cent. If the number of students rises more than funding, what does this say about funding per capita?

In any event, anyone who takes the care to look up even the most basic economic data to put a context to that 13 per cent rise will see that over the 11 years of the Coalition government real GDP rose by 49 per cent. A little primary school algebra applied to these figures reveals that as a proportion of GDP higher education funding fell by a quarter.

Its most glaring abuse of statistics is its opening table of Key economic indicators, comparing selective indicators for the Howard Government with those of the Rudd/Gillard Government. It’s a straight take on the tables published in the old Soviet Union, comparing the achievements of the Party’s Glorious Five Year Plan with the failures of the governments of the decadent western imperialists — via

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