Wednesday, 3 June 2009
Questions without Notice
Oh, I see, now we are talking about net debt, not gross figures. The member for Higgins has now entered the debate. I am sure he will be entering this debate in a more fulsome fashion once he nominates for preselection for his seat in Melbourne!
That is the first point for the member for Sturt. The second is: in terms of the debt position which the Commonwealth inherited in 2007, let us not forget the fact that the Telstra sale of $45.6 billion occurred under the previous government and the Commonwealth Bank sale of $6.8 billion occurred under the previous government. Can I just say that these factors were alive in what measures were taken by the previous government on the question of the retirement of elements of the net debt that occurred at the time. But there were $54 billion of Commonwealth government securities on issue, as the member for Higgins would be fully aware.
Then there is the question of debt—which those opposite have raised—and dare I mention it, foreign debt on the part of those opposite; foreign debt, which the member for Higgins said in 1995 was a terrible thing at $10,000 per head; foreign debt, which, by the time the member for Higgins had finished his period as Treasurer, had tripled to $30,000 a head—10, 20, 30; that is where it went to. It went to something like $600 billion. So the great debt truck, which, as the Minister for Trade rightly said yesterday, if those opposite had been honest about it, would have been not just a B-double rolling around the country but a B-triple because, although they made a promise to cut foreign debt to something under $200 billion, by the time they left office it was something in the vicinity of $600 billion—$10,000 per head to $30,000 per head. Those opposite—