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Australian Wayne Swan is Euromoney's world's best treasurer!

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Posted 21 Sept 2011

Australian Finance Minister Wayne Swan has been named the world's best treasurer, according to a statement last night confirming one of Canberra's worst kept secrets.

The judgement was made by the distinguished magazine Euromoney, the same publication which gave the accolade to Paul Keating in 1984.

Few Australians subscribe to Euromoney, but the Government will make sure as many voters as possible hear about its appraisal of the Treasurer, and the Opposition will be invited to congratulate him.

Wayne Swan will receive his award as Euromoney Finance Minister of the Year next Sunday in Washington where he will be attending World Bank and IMF meetings.

Euromoney said Mr Swan had been given the award "for his careful stewardship of Australia's finances and economic performance, both during and since the global financial crisis''.

But the magazine made clear it didn't think Mr Swan had single-handedly saved the nation's finances.

"Swan has undoubtedly been blessed with a number of advantages, including inheriting a sound economy and the natural resources bounty that has allowed Australian trade with China in particular to boom.

The magazine applauded his "swift response to stimulate the economy'' despite "strong opposition at home'' and said he had "succeeded in getting most of the important decisions right'.

"These include putting in place an exit strategy for the stimulus and sticking to it, imposing a fiscal discipline that many other finance ministers refusing to adopt,'' said the magazine's citation of Mr Swan.

It was hard to take the award seriously.

Swan has racked up $154 billion of deficits, he's yet to deliver a budget surplus and has turned $45 billion in the bank into a $110-billion-dollar credit card bill. The real recipient of this award should be Peter Costello, who laid the groundwork for Wayne Swan. If it wasn't for the heavy lifting done by the previous government, the Australian economy wouldn't be in the position it's in today.

In the latest edition alongside the article about Mr Swan is an alleged exchange between Mr Keating and the magazine's writer Eric Ellis, who said Mr Keating initially told him to just "f . . . off" after Mr Ellis called repeatedly for comment late at night on Mr Keating's personal phone.

It revealed Mr Costello simply replied to requests for comment with: "Good gag. Well done. It made me laugh."