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Conroy's confusion.

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Wed, 4th February 2009


Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Shadow Minister for Foreign Affairs Manager of Opposition Business in the Senate

Representing the Treasury portfolio in the Senate today, Stephen Conroy failed to answer how long the next generation of Australians will be saddled with the forecast national deficit, stemming from the Rudd Government’s package of $42 billion in the second economic stimulus package.

Senator Coonan questioned the Rudd Government on the longevity of their forecasted deficit, a deficit which is projected to be in the vicinity of $21 billion for 2009/2010.

Dear, oh dear! The global recession has led to deficits around the world. The IMF predicts that the deficits of advanced economies will rise to an average of seven per cent of GDP in 2009. The fact that those opposite still do not understand the severity of the global conditions and do not understand how that impacts on deficits in Australia is an indictment on those opposites, because it is very relevant to talk about world conditions when you are talking about how long Australia will be in deficit. - Stephen Conroy

Questions on annual interest repayment figures were also ignored by Senator Conroy.

The government will return the budget to surplus after the global recession is through. - Stephen Conroy

Senator Conroy’s inept handling of basic questions about the $42 billion package continued in this vein throughout Question Time.

Following the ineffectiveness of December’s initial $10.4 billion splurge, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, Treasurer Wayne Swan and Finance Minster Lindsay Tanner have all described this deficit as “temporary”, yet not one Government member will explain a timeframe, or plan, for its reversal.

The last Labor Treasurer to echo the infamous words “temporary deficit” was Paul Keating, whose “temporary deficit” outlasted his term as Treasurer and his Prime Ministership, ultimately rectified by the Howard Government.

This is a government shooting in the dark.