Barnaby: You Can Count On Swan’s Debt Pile

5 May

Barnaby Joyce in the Canberra Times today:

Next week’s budget is shaping up as another rollicking frolic on the road to pandemonium.

Almost a year ago, Wayne Swan delivered a budget for 2010-11 with what he predicted would be a $40.8 billion deficit which is a massive loss on the nation’s books. Next week he will reveal that the financial morass is more than $50 billion out the back door.

We are getting used to this unfortunately, the 25% Swan-error factor, incompetence, massive deficits and now massive debt.

If Labor can not manage the nation’s business, balance income to expenditure, in the middle of a resources boom, how on earth will it do it when the boom comes to an end?

When the Government announced the $90 billion spree in response to the North Atlantic financial crisis, Treasury officials told me that our debt would reach its $200 billion ceiling in 2013-2014. We are already at $190 billion in debt and rising.

Australia never went into a recession because China never went into a recession. School halls did not put any coal on a boat, ceiling insulation did not sell one tonne of iron ore and $900 cheques did not plant one acre of wheat.

In the parallel universe of Wayne Swan hocking the Australian credit card up with rubbish increases demand for soft and hard commodities in south-east Asia. The same way, I imagine that buying a new Playstation helps you get a wage rise at work.

Half of Mr Swan’s life is a promise; the other half is an excuse. Next week we will get both.

The promise will be a surplus, not now, but later. Labor will start paying the debt back not now but later. The excuses will be the GFC, the Tsunami, Yasi, Swanny and trust me.

He will tell you about new jobs and you might need one as his profligate spending will start to put the screws on the capacity for expenditure on government services.

The Treasurer will promise to cool the planet from a room in Parliament House by reducing carbon dioxide usage domestically, while selling record amounts of coal overseas. He will take you on a guilt trip about the price of power in Australia. He will try to convince you that it is morally just that the fundamentals of life become prohibitive for the average Australian consumer and that the trade advantage of our industry, cheap power, is an evil that should be removed and sent overseas. This is the Green-Labor-Independent economic miracle, future alternate “green” jobs in their future alternate green universe.

Earlier this week, Wayne Swan had the temerity to accuse the previous Coalition government of wasting the mining boom. Remember that terrible time? It was when we had tens of billions of money in the bank. Wayne just has massive debts.

He will say that it is not the gross debt that matters but the net debt. Yet he has never explained the difference between the two. He has never explained it because I don’t think he knows the difference.

Now maybe he might not know but his department does. In response to a question I put in Senate estimates, Treasury revealed that $64 billion of the difference between our gross debt and our net debt is made up of the cash and non-equity investments of the Future Fund. The Future Fund is there to cover the otherwise unfunded costs of public servants’ superannuation.

That is a little fact that the people of Canberra might be interested in. When Wayne mentions net debt translate that to, I am going to pay his debt off with my retirement savings.

If you want to test the competency of Mr Swan then it is similar to how you test the competency of anyone in any field. Pay a little bit of attention to their promises but pay immense attention to their delivery.

The last Coalition government delivered 10 surpluses in 12 years. A Labor treasurer has not delivered a budget with a surplus in it since 1989.

In the 21 years since, Labor delivered 9 budgets and racked up a cumulative debt of $200 billion.

The Coalition delivered 12 budgets producing cumulative savings of $97 billion.

Labor borrows at double the rate that Coalition governments can save.

The Coalition left Labor with a $60 billion Future Fund and a $20 billion surplus. We are now racing towards $200 billion in gross debt.

Next week’s budget is shaping up as another rollicking frolic on the road to pandemonium.

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