The Herald Sun produced an interesting table on Saturday
with their coverage of John Howard’s tenth anniversary which looked at
how a number of measures have changed from 1996 until 2006. Here’s a summary of those we found most interesting:

Measure 1996 2006
Population 18.3 million 20.5 million
Total immigration 85,500 140,000
Refugee intake 15,050 13,000
Smoking rate 25% 17%
Obese Australians 2.4 million 3.3 million
Average credit card debt $946 $2,732
Unemployment 8.5% 5.3%
Foreign debt $193 bn $472 bn
Average weekly earnings $591.40 $805.40
Minimum wage $349.40 $484.40
Trade union membership 31% 22.7%
Australians with a uni degree 15.8% 18.61%
Overseas students studying in Australia 42,716 152,667
Melbourne median house price $130,000 $318,000
Home loan interest rates 10.5% 7.32%
Households with a computer 34% 67%
Mobile phone ownership 4.9 million 18.4 million

A lot has been written about the Howard Government’s achievements
and failings, but we like the concept of putting rhetoric and opinion
aside and taking a ten-year statistical
snapshot to see how Australia has changed. There are literally
hundreds of entries that should be made on this score-card, ranging
from Indigenous life expectancy to annual postal allowances for Federal
MPs. Send your statistical entries to [email protected] but here are
few more to contemplate:

Measure 1996 2006
All Ordinaries index 2,250 4,813
Pages in the Tax Act 3,500 10,000
Net profits of big four banks $5 billion $15 billion
Federal health spending $20 billion $45 billion
Net federal debt $96 billion $6 billion
Unfunded federal super $75 billion $90 billion
Federal budget $9 billion deficit $9 billion surplus
No. of Liberal MPs nationally 330 230

Peter Fray

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