Peter Costello says most of us will die before national debt is paid

Peter Costello says most of us will die before national debt is paid
Former federal treasurer, Peter Costello. Photo by IMF photographer via Wikimedia Commons

The majority of living Australians will be deceased before the national debt is fully paid, according the former federal treasurer Peter Costello in a TV interview.

The night before the release of the federal budget, Mr Costello has stated that Australia’s national debt, relative to the GDP, was at roughly the same level it had been when he first took office as treasurer in 1996.

He said that it took “ten surplus budgets” to pay off the debt last time. He said that it would be optimistic if the government could do the same with the current level of debt.

Speaking candidly, Mr Costello revealed that he thought it was unlikely that Australia would return to “where we were” and that everyone alive “will die” before that goal was achieved.

Incumbent treasurer Scott Morrison has dismissed Mr Costello’s comments, saying that he encourages his “friend and mentor” to watch the budget announcement as he thinks he would be “pleased with what he sees”.

Mr Morrison has said the budget is going to deliver a stronger economy. He said that it was a plan to get “lower taxes” and “reduce the pressure” on Australian households.

However, Mr Morrison did not state how long it would take to pay off the national debt under this budget.

The federal budget is filled with attractive pre-election tax cuts for low and middle-income Australians. The Coalition has also said it is going to continue with its corporate tax plan.

Mr Costello said that the people who are earning between a hundred and two hundred thousand a year are the “forgotten people” and reminded to Coalition government that these individuals had not had “any tax relief” for a decade.

Mr Costello also set his sight on banking regulators, stating that he hopes they are scrutinised by the current royal commission into banking and finance sectors (a royal commission that Prime Minister Turnbull has since conceded should have been started sooner).

He stated that while it was good to punish wrongdoing in the banks executive branches, it was important to remember that the regulators had failed to investigate and curb the illegal behaviour.

He said that he hopes people have a “look at what the regulator was doing” during the period of misconduct by the banks. He said that just because regulators were present did not meant that they were doing their job to the best of their abilities.