Swan confounds his domestic sceptics
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Finance minister of the year Wayne Swan
And its a football thats never been more gleefully kicked than by Peter Costello, Keating and Swans ideological nemesis, whose 11 years as what Australians archaically call treasurer is Australias longest tenure in the office.
The unawarded Costello is long believed to be privately chagrined at this perceived snub. He seizes every opportunity to pan the award and Keating too, who had enthusiastically embraced it as the international imprimatur of a lustre that Australians, for whom its a national sport to spit contempt at their leaders, didnt and wouldnt. This might well be the fate that awaits Swan, for a prize perceived as a poisoned chalice in Canberra.
We asked Costello to critique the performance of Swan, the man who succeeded him as treasurer. When untouchable in government, Costello liked to waltz through parliamentary halls warbling an Al Jolson classic "how I love you, how I love you, my dear old Swanee" usually after hed again savaged the colourless Queenslander on the floor of the House. But times change. Costello ignored our invitation.
And maybe those earlier long and painful years fielding Costellos barbs did wound "The Worlds Greatest Treasurer", as Costello still likes to mockingly label Paul Keating, because he wasnt initially particularly forthcoming either. When Euromoney sought comment from the only other Australian ever to have received our award, the famously flinty Keatings instinctive reaction was to tell us "to just fuck off" and "I couldnt give a fuck", while curtly offering what appeared to be travel advice, suggesting we visit some place called "buggery".
Which is where voters might also soon dispatch Swan, a Keating-era backbencher, if he follows his former leaders example in steering Australia into a policy-induced recession, as Keating did in 1991, the last time Australia experienced one, and a gift for the ever-taunting Costello.
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