Former Australian prime minister John Howard is critical of the federal government for its handling of the economy during the global recession.
He says Labor leader Kevin Rudd wasted money by giving away cash handouts and has contributed to unemployment by changes to industrial law.
Mr Howard told Sky News that Mr Rudd had made things worse for the economy after inheriting a huge surplus. He said the strengths the Australian economy has in the face of the global downturn, "are the strengths given to it by my government."
Mr Howard also said changes by Labor to employment legislation had pushed up the cost of employing people, which he said, was bad for an economy in a recession.
The ABC reports the federal budget on Tuesday revealed a record deficit and forecast that net debt would peak at $UA188 billion by 2013.