OPPOSITION Leader Tony Abbott says he has a plan to create jobs.
As he put it Thursday: "Abolish the carbon tax, abolish the mining tax, get productivity up."
He said it could "produce one million new jobs in five years, two million new jobs in a decade."
Two million is an extraordinarily big number of jobs to add to a workforce of 11.6 million. But it has happened before.
In fact it's happening right now. Australia has been producing new jobs at the rate of two million workers per decade since December 2006. The latest figures show the number of Australians in jobs climbed 2.2 million in the decade to July. So it ought to be easy to continue.
But does it stack up?
Population growth should help. Bureau of Statistics projections have Australia's population growing by between 2.7 million and 4.2 million over the next decade. Its central case is population growth of 3.4 million.
But it's not that simple. Although Australia's total population will keep growing at an impressive pace, its working-age population will not. Adelaide University demographer Graeme Hugo says Australia's working age population is set to peak and stop growing within a decade as baby boomers become retirees and give up work.
It'll make Mr Abbott's target of two million more people in jobs much harder to achieve than history suggests, perhaps impossible.
(Perversely, it should make it far easier than it used to be for anyone who is of employable age to find a job.)
Except for this. It won't be Mr Abbott that creates those jobs.
Here's his Treasury spokesman Joe Hockey three years ago this month:
"Governments don't create jobs, business creates jobs. Employers employ people, not governments."
He could have added that demography, especially immigration, has a lot to do with it too.
Mr Abbott is wrong to say that his "economic plan can produce one million new jobs in five years, two million new jobs in a decade".
Most of those jobs would be created anyway, even without his economic plan. And changing demographics will make that difficult.
Politifact rates the claim "mostly false."
Details at www.politifact.com.au
Fairfax is partnering with the Pulitzer-prize winning service PolitiFact during the election campaign. Its Australian arm politifact.com.au uses the same rigorous methodology as its US parent to rate the accuracy of claims by elected officials and other influential people in the Australian political debate.