Wednesday, June 24, 2009

So, how should we treat what the OECD is about to say about Australia?

Its Economic Outlook will be released tonight

Here's a look back in time - to ABC's AM program in 2001 and in the late 1980s:

AM Archive - Thursday, 9 August , 2001

Reporter: Peter Martin

LINDA MOTTRAM: Australia has been described as remarkable and our economy strong enough to withstand bad times in both the US and Japan, in the latest annual review from the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.

The OECD is predicting that we're headed for an economic growth rate of almost four per cent but it also hints that Australian interest rates may have to climb very soon. Economics correspondent Peter Martin reports.

PETER MARTIN: The Australian budget is sound. Our labour market is more flexible, and our markets are more competitive. The result, says the world's largest economic cooperation agency, is remarkable...

They're the sort of conclusions Australia's treasury might reach itself. Australia's treasury has for years employed a representative at the OECD in Paris. Part of that person's job has been typically to get the OECD to write what the Australian treasury wants.

Andre Morony did that job at the OECD in Paris from 1984 to 1986. On his return to Australia in the late 1980s he told AM how he worked to ensure that the OECD's apparently independent report was a good one.

The representative would argue his case logically as far as he can and therefore it's very hard to say whether the OECD is swayed by the logic or by the big stick that the treasury representative has behind him, which is the veto.

LINDA MOTTRAM: Andre Morony, who was the Australian treasury rep at the OECD in the mid 1980s.