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Tuesday, 16 June 2009
Page: 6076


Mr TURNBULL (2:16 PM) —My question is to the Prime Minister. I refer him to the answer he just gave, and the answer the Treasurer gave a moment ago to the question from the member for North Sydney. I also refer the Prime Minister to the rapid rise in long-term interest rates in global financial markets over recent months. Is it correct that this increase is due to investor concerns over the massive and unprecedented borrowing by governments around the world, including his own? Or does the Prime Minister contend there is some other explanation, as his Treasurer does, for the global rise in long-term interest rates? If so, would he tell the House what it is?


Mr RUDD (Prime Minister) —I draw the honourable member’s attention to the answer I gave in the House yesterday concerning the global bond rate—the bond rate which arises from the amount of public bonds on issue around the world, which from memory is around $83 trillion, of which Australian bond issue as a fraction equals 0.001. That is fact 1. Fact 2 is that the assumption underpinning the honourable member’s question concerns interest rates in Australia. Let them absorb this basic fact: interest rates in Australia are now at a 40-year low. We have had six interest rate cuts in a row; we had 10 interest rate rises in a row under those opposite. Can I suggest that those opposite focus on the facts rather than simply again trying to talk the economy down with a rolling negative campaign to undermine business and consumer sentiment.