Australian minister blasts US Republican ‘cranks and crazies’
Australia’s deputy prime minister has warned that the greatest threat to the US economy is the “cranks and crazies” in the Republican Party, a rare foray into American domestic politics that was criticised by the opposition.
Wayne Swan, who also serves as treasurer and is his centre-left Labor Party government’s ranking finance minister, took aim at the Tea Party during a speech to a business forum, breaking a convention among Australia’s major parties to steer clear of US domestic political debates.
“Let’s be blunt and acknowledge the biggest threat to the world’s biggest economy are the cranks and crazies that have taken over a part of the Republican Party,” Mr Swan said. He said “the extreme right Tea Party wing” of the Republican Party had held the national interest hostage during last year’s debate over the US borrowing limit despite president Barack Obama’s “goodwill and strong efforts”.
He said it was imperative that Congress reach an agreement to support growth and avoid a “fiscal cliff” of deep government spending cuts and higher taxes in January, which he said could push the US economy back into recession. The conservative opposition said Mr Swan’s speech betrayed his “hatred” of Republicans.
“The Labor Party is peddling hatred and they’ve got to stop,” opposition treasury spokesman Joe Hockey said.
Prime minister Julia Gillard, who will travels to New York next week to address the United Nations General Assembly, defended her deputy’s comments as “appropriate”.
“What happens in the US economy matters to the world economy and it matters to us,” she told reporters. “Wayne Swan was making that very common sense point today.”
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Weather for Edinburgh
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 6 C to 17 C
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Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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