Andrew Leigh Labor
Bill Shorten, Andrew Leigh and Tanya Plibersek (Image: AAP/Daniel Pockett)

When is it wrong to write 5.3% as “around 5 and a half percent”? Not when the Reserve Bank does it. According to Nick Cater and Judith Sloan, the answer seems to be “when the writer is a member of the Labor Party”. Over recent weeks, the duo has mounted a bizarre attack on an opinion article that I had published online in The New York Times at the start of October. The critiques are as fatuous as they are false. 

Sloan says of me: “He claims that labour’s share of national income in Australia has fallen, which it has not.” She may wish to discuss this claim with the Australian Bureau of Statistics, which wrote earlier this year: “the labour share of income has declined over the past two decades in Australia”. Then there’s Cater’s attempt to revive the discredited idea that tax cuts like those implemented by Donald Trump “frequently lead to a rise in revenue”. According to the independent US Congressional Budget Office, the Republican tax cuts will increase that nation’s debt by $1.9 trillion between 2018 and 2028.