TONY EASTLEY said: The Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has made an extraordinary intervention into the US political debate less than two months from the presidential election, saying that “cranks and crazies” have taken over parts of the Republican Party.
Mr Swan says a year ago America’s national economic interest was “held hostage” by the rise of the extreme right Tea Party wing of the Republican Party.
He’s told a business breakfast in Sydney this morning that the world is again nervously waiting to see if political gridlock will prevent the US congress from making sensible economic decisions. The Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan has made an extraordinary intervention into the US political debate less than two months from the presidential election, saying that “cranks and crazies” have taken over parts of the Republican Party.
WAYNE SWAN said: In the United States we are reminded again of the price paid by a country when hard decisions are delayed. It’s been just over 12 months since the partisan debate in the United States over the borrowing limit and the fiscal pathway led to Standard and Poor’s stripping the United States of its prized Triple A rating after 70 years. It was around this time last year and that rocked the global economy.
Despite president Obama’s goodwill and strong efforts the national interest there was held hostage by the rise of the extreme Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. And there can be few things more alarming in public policy than a political movement which was genuinely prepared to see the government of the United States default on its obligations in order to score a political point.
Let’s just fast forward to today because the fiscal cliff looms early in the new year, threatening to derail what is now a moderate recovery in the United States.
TONY EASTLEY said: The Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan speaking at a business breakfast in Sydney this morning. And for the record, the US presidential election of course on November the 6th.
The taxpayers’ money four days ago went to the former president’s Clinton Foundation to pay for carbon accounting in Kenya.
Liberal environment spokesman Greg Hunt today said the Treasurer was “playing in partisan politics” by attacking the Republicans and helping a leading Democrat figure during the US election campaign.
“It’s completely inappropriate for the Treasurer to be playing in partisan US politics and that is not in Australia’s interests,” Mr Hunt told news.com.au.
“Against that background, it seems even odder that they are giving money to one of the world’s richest foundations.”
The revelation of the donation to the foundation came hours after Treasurer Swan made a heavy-handed intervention in the US election campaign by branding Republican economic policy managers as ‘cranks and crazies’.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott said Mr Swan should do his own job better and stop blaming others.
And shadow treasurer Joe Hockey also told Mr Swan to stop blaming others for what the senior Liberal called his own economic mismanagement.
“Wayne Swan loves hating people,” Mr Hockey told news.com.au.
“He hates Tony Abbott, he hates Gina Rinehart, he hates Twiggy Forrest, and he hates the Republicans.”
A spokesman for the Treasurer today linked the Tea Party economics Mr Swan had condemned to the policies of Tony Abbott.
“This is exactly the kind of wrecking ball approach to the economy that we see on a daily basis from Tony Abbott,” said the spokesman.
“The reason Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey have reacted today to criticisms of the Tea Party politics is because they’re importing this destructive style of politics to Australia.
Just like the Tea Party in the Republican movement, Tony Abbott will lie, mislead and distort to try to drag our economy down for his own political interest.”
The furore erupted after Mr Swan this morning told a Sydney Financial Services Council event that the biggest dangers to the global and Australian economies were declines in Europe and America, the world’s largest economy.
“Let’s be blunt and acknowledge the biggest threat to the world’s biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over the Republican Party,” said Mr Swan.
Pointing to a stalemate over the US Budget earlier this year Mr Swan said, “Despite President Obama’s goodwill and strong efforts, the national interest was held hostage by the rise of the extreme right Tea Party wing of the Republican Party.
“The consequences were grave.
“There can be few things more alarming in public policy than a political movement which was genuinely prepared to see the US government default on its obligations in order to score a political point … fast forward to today, against the backdrop of a very close presidential campaign, and global investors are once again keenly focused on political gridlock in the US.”
Mr Swan today stood by his comments and said an example of “inflammatory” would be the United States in default.
“That would have very serious implications for the global economy. It’s the last thing the global economy needs” the Treasurer told reporters.
And he likened the Opposition’s economic policy to that of the American Tea Party, the far right wing of the Republicans.
“I know there are people who will go out there like Tony Abbott and talk our economy down and behave in a Tea Party fashion. The fact is the fundamentals in the Australian economy are strong.”
Australian politicians have previously injected their own partisan observations into US political contests.
In February, 2007, Prime Minister John Howard said a victory to Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama, would be a boost for the terrorists. Mr Obama went on to become the President who ordered the killing of terror mastermind Osama bin Laden.
In February 2003, the Labor Opposition Leader Mark Latham declared that US president George W. Bush was “the most incompetent and dangerous president in living memory” and called Liberal fans of Mr Bush’s Iraq invasion a “conga line of suckholes”.
Malcolm Farr is news.com.au’s National Political Editor
|Agency||Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency|
|Contract Period||19-Jun-2012 to 1-Feb-2013|
|Contract Value (AUD)||$550,000.00|
|Description||Design National Carbon Accounting System in Kenya|
|Procurement Method||Limited tender|
|Confidentiality – Contract||No|
|Confidentiality – Outputs||No|
|Name||Clinton Foundation Clinton Climate Initiative|
|Postal Address||c/- William J Clinton Foundation 383 Dorchester Ave, Suite 400|
|Contact Name||Director, Procurement Section|
|Contact Phone||02 6159 7666|
|Agency Reference ID||STD-005481-0|