Australia to scrap soaring national debt ceiling
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia has opted to avoid political arguments over how high to raise the national debt limit by scrapping debt ceilings altogether.
The government had faced stiff resistance in Parliament to increasing the country’s public debt ceiling by a whopping two-thirds to 500 billion Australian dollars ($452 billion).
With the current AU$300 billion limit on track to be exceeded next week, the conservative coalition government struck a deal with the left-wing Greens party on Wednesday to remove the legislated cap on debt.
The support of the Greens ensures that the bill to scrap the cap will pass the Senate before Parliament ends next week for the year.
The government has promised more transparency on debt and will explain to Parliament if debt increases by more than AU$50 billion.
Economists had warned that political brinkmanship over Australia’s ability to pay its debts echoed recent U.S. politics and risked Australia’s AAA credit rating.
The opposition Labor Party had only been prepared to raise the debt ceiling to AU$400 billion.
“It was always a silly debate,” said Greens leader Christine Milne, referring to debt ceiling adjustments.