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Monday, 21 May 2012
Page: 4747

Economy


Mr ROBB (Goldstein) (14:28): My question is to the Acting Prime Minister. I refer the Acting Prime Minister to his comments only a fortnight ago on Fran Kelly's program that the increase in the debt limit was 'no big deal'. The very next day before the parliament he told the House that the very same provision was now a 'very serious issue'. Acting Prime Minister, does the government view the increase in the nation's credit card limit from $250 billion to $300 billion as a very serious issue or no big deal? (Time expired)


Mr SWAN (LilleyDeputy Prime Minister and Treasurer) (14:28): I do thank the member for that question. I want to spend a bit of time on it because I think it just demonstrates how irresponsible the opposition is. As I indicated to the House last sitting week, we were seeking to get a buffer over and above the debt cap of $250 billion simply because there were variable moments during a year when we went over the cap. I explained the reasons for all of that in the House: we would be at the end of each year within the $250 billion cap. I even went to the lengths of giving the shadow Treasurer a minute from the AOFM as to why this is not controversial. But if it does become controversial then it is a serious issue. If you are going to take the wrecking ball out on this issue, in this environment, given international markets, that is seriously reckless—that is seriously dangerous. What it demonstrates is what a danger you are to the Australian economy and the Australian people.