1. The last year has been extremely difficult for most nations to provide jobs for those who want to work, as the global crisis has intensified.
In the Euro Area, for example, total "employed persons" has declined 1,211,000 over the last 12 months.
So what has happened to the number of employed in Australia over the last year?
(a) Declined by only 16,300
(b) Declined by 163,000
(c) Stayed the same
(d) Increased by 16,300
(e) Increased by 163,000
2. Economic growth figures for the first quarter of 2013 suggest Australia is in an exclusive group of well managed economies.
But how exclusive?
How many of these 30 wealthy, developed economies have GDP growth higher than 2.4 per cent of gross domestic product – Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Japan, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, the UK, the USA?
(a) All 30
(b) Fifteen – only half
(e) Just the one
3. For most of the last three years, Australia has had women in several top jobs, including finance minister, prime minister, governor general and monarch. How has this affected women in the workforce generally?
In June 2013, women in full- and part-time jobs numbered:
(a) 5,338,600 – more than 500,000 above the level when Labor came to office
(b) 4,931,700 – more than 100,000 above the level when Labor came to office
(c) 4,831,500 – maintaining the level when Labor came to office in 2007, despite the global financial crisis
(d) 4,730,700 – only 100,000 below the level when Labor came to office, a better performance than most comparable countries during the GFC
4. Most readers of the mainstream media know the mining boom is over because business can't work with Labor.
So which of the following items regarding iron ore mined in the Pilbara were reported for the latest quarter by Australian mining giant Rio Tinto?
(a) Record iron ore production, shipments and rail volumes in the first half year, despite a broken conveyor belt causing a ship loader to be side-lined for several weeks and unseasonal flooding in the Pilbara.
(b) Production of 120 million tonnes set a new record for a first half year, driven by improved productivity.
(c) Rio Tinto’s share of production was 6 per cent higher than the same period last year.
(d) First half 2013 sales of 111 million tonnes were 2 per cent higher than the same period in 2012, setting a new record for a first half.
5. The Liberal Party blames the current Labor Government for the decline in manufacturing jobs following the strong rise of the Aussie dollar and Australia’s access to low-cost imports.
The history of manufacturing jobs since the economy was restructured in the 1980s shows ebbs and flows. Mostly ebbs. It reveals one disastrous period when the Aussie dollar was about half its present value (relative to the US dollar and the euro) and Australia lost a staggering 59,000 manufacturing jobs in less than four years.
The hapless Treasurer at that time was:
(a) Paul Keating
(b) Peter Costello
(c) Wayne Swan
(d) Didn’t happen. No-one could be that incompetent.
6. The Chairman of Australia’s Competition and Consumer Commission Rod Sims recently delivered a comprehensive address on productivity and growth.
Which one of these is true about the history of Australia’s world ranking regarding productivity:
(a) From 12th ranked in the world in 1950, Australia rose to ninth during the Menzies-McMahon era, rose to eighth during the Whitlam years, rose to sixth during the Fraser years, rose to fourth during the Hawke-Keating years, rose to second during the Howard years, then fell to seventh during the Rudd-Gillard years.
(b) From ninth in the world in 1950, Australia rose to fourth during the Menzies-McMahon era, dropped to eighth during the Whitlam years, rose to fourth during the Fraser years, dropped back to eighth during the Hawke-Keating years, rose to fourth during the Howard years, fluctuated during the Rudd-Gillard years but ended up the same.
(c) From fourth in the world in 1950, Australia dropped to ninth during the Menzies-McMahon era, rose to eighth during the Whitlam years, dropped to 14th during the Fraser years, rose to sixth during the Hawke-Keating years, fluctuated during the Howard years but ended up the same, then rose to first during the Rudd-Gillard years.
7. Terms of trade is a neat measure of how well an economy is travelling. It is the ratio of the price of exportable goods to that of importable goods. In other words, the quantity of imports a country can purchase for a unit of exports. The higher the better.
For the last three years of the Howard Government, Australia had an impressive terms of trade index averaging 71.6. For the last three years of the Gillard/Rudd Government, the terms of trade index averaged:
(a) 64.4 – only about 10 per cent lower, not bad given the global financial crisis
(b) 71.5 – virtually the same level
(c) 78.6 – about 10 per cent higher
(d) 85.2 – almost 20 per cent higher
(e) 97.1 – more than 35 per cent higher
8. The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development recently released figures on taxation around the world.
Which of the following is true for Australia?
(a) Total taxes on wages in Australia are among the lowest in the developed world, with only five much smaller countries taking less
(b) Almost all households are paying significantly less in tax now than they were during the Howard government years
(c) The tax cuts introduced by the Rudd Government between 2008 and 2010, along with the Gillard Government’s carbon tax reforms, lowered average tax rates by 3.6 per cent
(d) The biggest tax breaks have gone to the lowest paid
(e) All of the above
(f) None of the above
9. Only six countries in the OECD have total taxation rates below 26 per cent of gross domestic product. This is quite low. Several countries are above 44 per cent.
Of those six low taxing nations only three are in the top 35 nations by standard of living. Australia is one of them – and is in fact at or near the top of virtually every measure now.
Which are the other two?
(a) South Korea and the USA
(b) Singapore and Switzerland
(c) Norway and Chile
(d) New Zealand and Canada
(e) Sweden and Germany
10. How does Australia compare globally on indirect taxes, including the goods and services tax?
Of the 34 member nations of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development where is Australia ranked?
(a) At the top: highest rate of indirect taxes
(b) In the top four: among the highest
(c) Pretty close to the middle
(d) In the bottom four: among the lowest
(e) At the bottom: lowest rate
11. The cost of raising kids has been analysed in depth by the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at Canberra University.
One finding is that government assistance to middle income families now averages $83 per week. What is the average weekly assistance for low income families?
12. Following on, regarding the Centre for Social and Economic Modelling’s finding that assistance to middle income families from the Government is $83 per week.
What is it for high income families, per week?
(a) Virtually nothing
(b) About $83, the same as middle income families
(c) About $274
(d) About $344, a heritage of the Howard years which Labor has not yet reversed
1. (e) Increased by 163,000.
2. (e) Just the one.
3. (a) 5,338,600 – more than 522,000 above the level when Labor came to office. See this page. Then click on table 01, and then line 19.
The all time high was actually achieved in April this year, but June is pretty close.
4. All of them. Complete report here.
5. (b) Peter Costello, between November 1997 and August 2001. See here. Click on Table 04.
6. (c) See here.
7. (e) 97.1 – more than 35 per cent higher.
8. (e) All of those observations.
9. (a) South Korea and USA. The six low-tax nations are Australia, Chile, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey and the USA. The United Nations ranks these by standard of living thus:
Australia 2nd (to Norway), USA 3rd, South Korea 12th, Chile 40th, Mexico 61st and Turkey 90th.
10. (d) Only the USA, Switzerland and Japan have lower indirect taxes.
11. (d) $274. Report here.
12. (a) Virtually nothing.
Disputes welcome and correspondence will be entered into.
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