Wayne Swan global financial crisis
Wayne Swan, 2008. (Image credit: AAP Image/Alan Porritt)

It’s one of the great ironies of recent history that possibly the biggest beneficiary of the economic policies I led as treasurer during the global financial crisis has been the Coalition.

Why? Because Australia’s avoidance of recession gave the Coalition the ability to demonise deficit and debt, and camouflage their smash-and-grab assault on the social safety net. They never had to face the choice that Labor faced in 2008 and 2009 -- between deficits or a recession with forecasts of 8.5% unemployment.