Scott Morrison economic stagnation stagnant wages recession
(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

After spending the last decade deriding Labor's response to the financial crisis as inept, over the top and wasteful, the Coalition now finds itself facing a similar challenge after a weekend in which an already poor economic outlook dramatically worsened.

As this week's national accounts for the December quarter will show, the Australian economy was already stumbling badly at the end of 2019, with neither households nor business spending, and major sectors like construction and manufacturing contracting.

But it is the impact on China of the coronavirus crisis that is likely to push the Australian economy into negative growth this quarter and, quite possibly, a recession.