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Costello's debt truck: he can park but he cannot hide.



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FOR MEDIA

CRAIG EMERSON Member for Rankin

SHADOW MINISTER FOR INNOVATION, INDUSTRY AND TRADE

12 March 2003

Costello’s debt truck: he can park but he cannot hide

Labor has found the debt truck Peter Costello parked and hid when he became Treasurer.

The discovery of the debt truck in Melbourne follows the week in which foreign debt crashed through the $350 billion barrier.

Under Peter Costello’s stewardship Australia has racked up record foreign debt, a record current account deficit and a record trade deficit.

This is the trifecta nobody would want to win.

Foreign debt has almost doubled under Peter Costello.

Yet when Mr Costello rolled out his debt truck in 1995 he warned, in “a cold anger”, that foreign debt was “a terrible thing. It is now the equivalent of $10,000 per head for every Australian”.

He declared Australia was “staggering under the load of foreign debt” and accused the Labor Government of “reckless financial mismanagement” and “culpability”.

Mr Howard got into the act, accusing Labor of having “handed this country over to the foreign bankers of the world”, of having pawned Australia’s independence and of denuding the country of sovereignty.

Mr Howard said: “I can promise you that we will follow policies which will, over a period of time, bring down the foreign debt”.

Instead of bringing down foreign debt they have almost doubled it - in just seven years.

And by their preferred measure, foreign debt is now the equivalent of $18,000 a head for every Australian.

Mr Costello’s debt truck can park but it cannot hide.

For further information: Craig Emerson 0418 781 386

John Howard and Peter Costello on Foreign Debt

“I feel a cold anger for the Prime Minister (Mr Keating) of this country. I feel a cold anger that he has run our country into deficit in the way that he has” (Peter Costello, Hansard, 30 June 1995).

“… foreign debt is a terrible thing. It is now the equivalent of $10,000 per head for every Australian”. (Peter Costello on radio 5AN, 10 October 1995).

“Australia is staggering under the load of foreign debt.” (Peter Costello, Hansard 26 September 1995).

“In the 12 years of the reckless financial mismanagement of this Prime Minister (Mr Keating), in his role as both Prime Minister and Treasurer, this country’s debt in net terms has gone from $23 billion to $180 billion.” (Peter Costello, Hansard 26 September 1995).

“Labor is desperately trying to escape culpability for Australia’s record $180 billion of foreign debt”. (Peter Costello, Media release, 21 September 1995).

“What your Prime Minister has done in the last 12 years has been to more trade in and denude this country of real sovereignty than any constitutional set-up could possible do. You have handed this country over to the foreign bankers of the world.” (John Howard, Hansard 30 March 1995).

“I can promise you that we will follow policies which will, over a period of time, bring down the foreign debt”. (John Howard, Doorstop interview, Debt truck launch, 20 September 1995).