By Terence Mills
Call that a debt explosion … This is a real debt explosion!
Over the weekend Australia’s gross debt reached a record $500 billion – that’s half a trillion dollars – representing a massive loan repayment obligation for future generations of Australians and highlighting the monumental hypocrisy of the Coalition.
When gross debt reached $250 billion in 2012 the then opposition were howling about Labor’s ‘Debt and Deficit Disaster’. Joe Hockey – at the 2013 election – was bemoaning the massive imposition on future generations due to Labor’s debt catastrophe which he considered would put at risk the sovereignty of the Australian economy. But look at what’s happened since the Coalition came to office: gross debt has been increasing by $1.66 billion a month faster than under Labor and has grown by $381.7 million a week or $54.5 million a day quicker under the Coalition.
Before the 2013 election, Coalition MPs were scathing on Labor debt levels, paying no heed to the challenges of the global financial crisis (GFC) — the worst economic downturn in 80 years.
Tony Abbott and Barnaby Joyce were apoplectic about the interest payments of $6 billion a year depriving the people of Australia funding for schools and hospitals due to Labor’s delinquent and uncontrolled borrowing and drunken sailors were allegedly everywhere in Labor’s ranks when it came to profligate spending by a debauched government.
Interest payments are now $16 billion for this financial year and will be even higher next year and if global interest rate move upward, as it seems they may, the situation could be even worse.
But haven’t we been told constantly by our mainstream media that the Coalition are much better economic managers than Labor? Just last week, Turnbull said – when avoiding questions in Question Time – that the Coalition were committed to fixing Labor’s legacy of debt and dysfunction. This falsehood would soon be exposed if our major media outlets were doing there job but today’s Australian doesn’t even consider the debt explosion worthy of mention and the usual suspects who would be front and centre screeching doom and destruction if Labor were in office have nothing to say.
The debt ceiling has had to be lifted to make room for the record debt and yet the Coalition remain committed to their big-business tax cuts which, in May last year, Treasury secretary John Fraser told a Senate hearing would cost $48.2 billion over the 2016-27 period. But Mr Morrison has revised that figure to $65.4 billion for the decade (2017-28). This means that it will cost Australians $5.4 billion in extra interest for the government to borrow the money required to pay for its huge tax handout — the equivalent of $220 for every man, woman and child in the country.
Can Australia really afford the ‘luxury’ of a Coalition government?