|How Euromoney’s finance minister award |
became an Aussie political football
Australia’s deputy prime minister Wayne Swan is today named as Euromoney’s Finance Minister of the Year 2011.
Swan will be presented with the award at a reception held during the World Bank/IMF meetings in Washington on September 25th.
Swan receives his award for his careful stewardship of Australia’s finances and economic performance both during and since the global financial crisis.
Throughout that time, Australia has not only avoided falling into recession but has been the best performing of the world’s developed market economies. That performance was confirmed in the second quarter of this year, with Australia’s GDP numbers showing an impressive growth of 1.2%.
Australia’s position within the global financial community has never been stronger than it is today. Its banking system is strong and the envy of many other developed nations. Its economic foundations are sound, with strong exports, low unemployment and rising incomes. The market has confirmed its positive view of Australia’s relative economic strength through rising investment and the steady appreciation of the Australian dollar.
Swan has undoubtedly been blessed with a number of advantages, including inheriting a sound economy and the natural resources bounty that has allowed Australian trade with China in particular to boom.
But, beginning with his swift response to stimulate the economy in 2007/2008 despite strong opposition at home, Swan has succeeded in getting most of the important decisions right. These include putting in place an exit strategy for the stimulus and sticking to it, imposing a fiscal discipline that many other finance ministers refuse to adopt.
Swan has continued to deliver this strong and steady performance despite political difficulties at home, in which his Labor Party only has the smallest possible majority through the support of independent MPs.
Swan joins a roll-call of leading finance ministers who have been recognised by Euromoney, the leading global publication for banking and finance, for more than 30 years. Recent winners include Jim Flaherty of Canada in 2009 and Alexei Kudrin of Russia last year.
An in-depth interview with Swan, reviewing his tenure as Australia’s treasurer and discussing the challenges he faces both in Australia and the broader global economic situation, is published today at www.euromoney.com/swan and is free to read.
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