Last September, Brandis stood up in the Senate in answer to a Labor question and said “There are things to be celebrated — like the fact, for example, that Australia’s economic growth is now 3.3%, the highest rate of economic growth of any G20 nation”. That’s complete nonsense, of course, because the G20 includes countries like China and India that are growing at rates many multiples of our own. So Labor asked Brandis on notice: “Is it correct to say that Australia’s economic growth figures are the highest of any G20 nation?” Brandis’ reply was that “At the time the statement was made, Australia’s growth rate was the fastest of any major advanced economy in the G20.” Needless to say, the word “advanced” never appeared in Brandis’ original answer — not even several paragraphs earlier in the answer from where, like those important words “I recall”, they could exert a magical influence to rescue George from his own bungling later on. Then again, Brandis might be a lousy lawyer, but he’s a better lawyer than he is an economist.

Peter Fray

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