Aug 11, 2011

David Murray takes on the fiscal consensus

Despite widespread agreement that the government doesn't need to return to surplus next year, one figure wants us to go harder and faster.

Bernard Keane — Politics editor

Bernard Keane

Politics editor

A new standard in fiscal hairychestedness has been set this week, not in the United States, or Europe, home of almost unimaginable levels of government debt, but right here in Australia. And not from the opposition, despite its theoretical commitment to returning to surplus even faster than the government.

No, up stepped David Murray of the Future Fund to declare that the forecast surplus for next year wasn’t good enough, that there needed to be a “sufficient surplus to stabilise the debt levels”.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

49 thoughts on “David Murray takes on the fiscal consensus

  1. Suzanne Blake

    The chances of Swan delivering a Surplus in 2012/2013 are poor.

    He will be itching for an excuse, and I bet he picks the latest global events to spin a yarn.

  2. Murray Hall

    It certainly is terrible that David Murray holds a different opinion on debt. Didn’t he get the memo that everyone had to say the same thing?

  3. Suzanne Blake

    @ Murray Hall

    Perhaps he is not on the 6am, 11am, 3pm, 8pm ALP Spin Email List or it goes to his junk email.

  4. Michael James

    Jesus Crikey, you trying to create your own version of Godwin’s Law.

    Murray makes a comment on government policy relating to debt and you drag out his position on climate change, which has no bearing on the subject. You do it not one but twice, as if his position on one contentious subject immediately disqualifies him from commenting on anything else.

    Personally I agree that Murray is mistaken on the budget deficit approach, but his politics on climate don’t have a bearing on the subject being discussed.

    Demonising people for their position, even if it’s something you don’t particularly agree with, hardly supports free speech, something Crikey claims to stand for.

  5. stephen martin

    “Stabilising debt levels” of course is achieved by not having a deficit,”
    Why that interpretation? – surely stabilising it could equally mean at it’s present level, no better, but no worse.

  6. The_roth

    @ Michael James – it would have been way funnier if you’d written crikey, Crikey!

  7. Rodger

    Australia’s government debt per GDP is the lowest in the OEDC ( and 107th in the world.
    But let’s reduce it further.
    I suggest reduced government spending to levels just above those that cause riots and looting.

  8. Harvey Tarvydas

    Dr Harvey M Tarvydas

    Well done BK, but surely they can all see that he’s just drunk which is a very common and fashionable affliction.
    Let him go back to sleep and when he wakes next decade everything will be smooth as and he won’t be stressed by worldly difficulties.

  9. Captain Planet

    @ Stephen Martin

    Debt = how much money you owe (total)
    Deficit = how much more you spend than you earn, in a given period (e.g. 1 year)
    Surplus = how much more you earn than you spend, in a given period

    Therefore no deficit and no surplus = debt remains the same (stable)

    Deficit = increase in debt

    Surplus = reduction in debt

  10. William Fettes

    Little bearing, perhaps, but I wouldn’t say it has no bearing. After all, there’s probably some kind of correlation between having drastically wrong-headed views on well-publicised matters of public policy like climate change, where the scientific literature is clear and well vetted, and having a similarly untethered approach to public policy issues in relation to your own specialty, economics.

    You can’t assume one from the other, because obviously you can be a subject matter expert about one topic, and remain pretty ignorant about matters outside that. But some people are just flabby thinkers, and if they show a tendency to repeat crappy source material, you can bet that lack of rigour is apparent in other areas of their thinking.

Leave a comment

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details