The weekly update on the level of Federal government debt from the Australian Office of Financial Management throws the spotlight on how the budget is performing and how much the government is borrowing each week to fund its particularly high level of spending. Just go to aofm.gov.au every Friday afternoon and the running tally of government debt is there for all to see.
As at last Friday, 28 August 2015, gross government debt was $384.7 billion – the highest level ever recorded. This represents an increase of $111 billion from the level inherited by the Abbott government in September 2013. It is just as well Treasurer Joe Hockey scrapped the debt ceiling legislation early in the Abbott government’s term because he would now be having to introduce legislation to have the ceiling raised beyond $400 billion, a figure that will be exceeded before year end.
All of which makes a mockery of the Coalition’s claims of reducing debt and deficit. It has failed dismally. Or that the level of government debt is at emergency levels and is a disaster for our economy. It isn’t.
We seldom hear those rhetoical flourishes from Mr Abbott or Mr Hockey now days as they know that under their stewardship, debt is certain to exceed $425 billion when the election is called in the second half of 2016 – it might even be $450 billion is the government keeps spending like a drunken sailor and does nothing on the revenue side to pay for it.