Recently, Australia’s gross national debt reached a new record. The Australian Office of Financial Management announced that the bonds on issue that taxpayers will eventually have to repay now equal $734.4 billion.
The Coalition is about to commence their eighth year in government. When Labor left office in 2013 debt was sitting at $257 billion.
It would be duplicitous of former Treasurer and current Prime Minister Morrison to pretend this new record debt and deficit is all due to the pandemic. In fact, the Liberals accumulated two-thirds of the debt before any of us had ever heard of the Coronavirus.
Even before the devastating bushfires of last summer and the pandemic hit, our nation’s annual growth was already well-below trend, consumption was weak, business investment had fallen, underemployment and household debt hit record highs and wages growth had hit a record low.
Australia’s remarkable run of nearly three decades of economic growth ended on Scott Morrison’s watch.
I seriously doubt the ability of the Coalition’s economic team when it comes to getting the nation out of this mess. There are already one million Australians unemployed and another 240,000 expected to be unemployed by Christmas.
Sadly, Mr Morrison doesn’t appear to understand the structural damage to the budget that has occurred on his watch. So, very recently, he was happy to sell coffee cups as a marketing gimmick announcing a surplus. However, the harsh reality is that Treasury is now predicting a deficit of $184.5 billion for this year. Our nation now needs leadership rather than marketing slogans and short term political point-scoring.