John Howard.
John Howard. Wikimedia Commons / R D Ward

Howard rejects IMF's 'profligate spender' tag

A STUDY of government spending in 55 leading economies has found Australia's most wasteful was during four years of the Howard Government.

The International Monetary Fund measured 200 years of government actions, finding spending was most "profligate" during 2003 and 2005-07.

But the measure did not take into account fiscal stimulus, meaning neither the Rudd or Whitlam governments' big-spending agendas were taken into account.

A spokesman for Mr Howard told Fairfax Media he rejected the charge, saying the reason Australia dodged the global financial crisis was due to the strong fiscal position of his government, not Rudd Government stimulus.