It looks like Campbell Newman is responsible for all the ills of Wayne’s World. But for Newman the economy would be humming along and national unemployment would actually be low. Or something like that. This is an argument that comes up from time to time in the threads and also on twitter, so I decided to have a look at the Labour Force stats in the ABS to see if there was something to it.
So using the Original data in table 2 I calculated an unemployment rate for each state and territory and then calculated an employment rate for Australia with and without Queensland. So what the national unemployment rate would be without Queensland being a State of Australia. (Okay – this does ignore that some jobs may be created or lost due a federal structure and the like, but I can’t unravel those effects without some very serious modelling – so I’m going to assume they’re small). I then plot the two series and the difference.
So right now it does look like our national unemployment is slightly higher due to unemployment in Queensland – but looking at the bottom of the graph it is hard to get too excited. The uptick in unemployment is lower now than in the decade of the 80s and again the decade of the mid-90s to mid-00s. Okay, so there is a cyclical effect at work. But what about the Newman government? So I truncate those graphs and blow them up to see small variations. The period I choose is December 2007 – present, so the tenure of the current federal government. The important date is March 26, 2012 – the date Campbell Newman became Premier.
Yes – national unemployment is slightly higher than it otherwise would be but for Queensland; but that has been the case since September 2009. The current Queensland government can legitimately claim that it inherited this situation.
It looks to me that the ‘Blame it on Newman’ campaign is a bit short on facts.