Former Australian treasurer claims Greenspan's a bad historian

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PAUL Keating has attacked former US Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan's memory of recent history after he failed to recognise the former Labor prime minister's role in modernising the Australian economy.

Mr Keating said yesterday Dr Greenspan's record showed he had legitimate claims to being a substantial US central banker.

"But if his book is any guide, especially as it relates to Australia, those claims do not extend to him being a noteworthy economic historian," the former treasurer said.

Once voted the world's greatest treasurer for floating the Australian dollar and opening the economy to international competition, Mr Keating was responding to claims made by Dr Greenspan in his memoir The Age of Turbulence.

In the book, serialised in The Australian, Dr Greenspan gives credit for the Australian economy's transformation to Bob Hawke, Mr Keating's predecessor as prime minister.

He also writes in highly favourable terms about John Howard, Peter Costello and former Reserve Bank governor Ian Macfarlane. But Mr Keating gets no mention - despite credit from many commentators for driving the economy's transformation as the Hawke government's treasurer from 1983 to 1991, and then continuing the reform push as prime minister from late 1991 to1996.

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