This is the data set that was used to produce the chart we posted last night.
Our reader Jonathan sent me this note with the data.
This took me 30 minutes to go to budget.gov.au and work through the official budget documents.
I do have a Bachelor's degree in economics, but practice as a corporate lawyer.
What the attached document shows is that Labor's claim that their record deficits result from falling revenue is absolute garbage.
You will see if they kept average spending as a percent of GDP to the average of the last 5 Coalition budgets they should have delivered surpluses in 3 out of 4 budgets. Instead they have increased expenditure as a percent of GDP by 3.85%.
I really hope at least one of you publishes this and circulates it because I believe it is extremely important that facts are used to destroy Gillard and Swan's claims. They are complete and utter lies.
Why a member of the Press Gallery has not taken the time to do this basic research task is beyond me.
Feel free to use how and when you wish.
You will notice that Jonathan has not allocated 2007/08 to a particular party, that financial year was pretty much half half Liberal/Labor.
I wrote to Jonathan and asked if this was the source of his data set http://budget.gov.au/2011-12/content/fbo/html/appendixb.htm I noted there is some variation from his quoted numbers, particularly in the early years.
Jonathan wrote back saying,
The figures are from budget.gov.au and then search for each past budget and go to its individual webpage where they publish the final figures. Your link seems to have captured it all in one nice place (and would have saved me some time!). I did it using each individual budget page to make sure I was comparing apples with apples.
I used the numbers that excluded future fund earnings because they shouldn't be counted as revenue (this actually favours ALP because if you include future fund earnings then the decline in revenue is even smaller). So revenue is that earned from taxation only.
I think the variance is because they used different collection methods to get the data for earlier years. They try to adjust the figures to account for any collection errors, but it is never an exact science. Doesn't detract from the simple point though that revenue is down by a very small amount as a percent of GDP, but spending has jumped significantly.
I am amazed no journo in the mainstream media has done this analysis.
Then reader N put Jonathan's figures into a chart - and that's how we came to show this last night.
I hope that answers any questions about the source for the data and clears up any lingering belief that Swan might have told the truth.