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Tuesday, 9 December 1986
Page: 3587

Senator ALSTON —My question is directed to the Minister for Finance. Is it a fact that, although last year's Forward Estimates of Budget outlays and staffing were released in November last year, the Estimates for 1987-88 and 1988-89 have not yet been released and will not be until the Senate has risen? Is this because of the Government's acute embarrassment over the size of the fiscal deficit overrun due to the massive increase in public debt interest repayments which itself is a direct result of the Government's high interest rates policy and its refusal to cut government spending?

Senator WALSH —I do not know whether that is another one of Senator Messner's bummer questions that he has managed to unload on to a member of his back bench, but it is based on a complete misconception of the Forward Estimates. The Forward Estimates are estimates of expenditure commencing in 1987-88 and have absolutely nothing to do with this year's Budget outcome.