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Flagpost is a blog on current issues of interest to members of the Australian Parliament

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Bumping its head on the ceiling - the US Treasury and extraordinary measures

The US Government debt ceiling is currently suspended, but will be re-instated on 8 February 2014 (Saturday). When the debt ceiling is reached, the US Treasury will once again face a situation where it has two conflicting objectives – to honour the US Government’s financial commitments, and to not issue new debt. A small number of ‘extraordinary measures’ can be used in the short term, but they aren’t sustainable solutions. The temporary ‘headroom’ they provide below the debt ceiling will likely only last until June at the latest, and possibly much less. Even the potential for default has an impact on borrowing costs, and the US Treasury said ‘... Read more...

Australia's current debt position - December 2013 update

Here we present a snapshot of Australia’s current debt position and how it has changed since the previously published articles on Australia’s debt position. This update provides the latest available data on Australia’s level of debt for both the public and private sectors in gross and net terms, and compares it with previously published data. For definitions of gross and net debt the reader is referred to the Library’s earlier Flagpost titled Australia’s current debt position from April 2011.Chart 1 presents Australia’s current foreign debt for the September quarter of 2013 in gross and net terms for the public and private sectors. From Chart 1 it is clear that the private sector is still th... Read more...

Has the United Kingdom sold their student debt?

On a recent Q&A program Education Minister Christopher Pyne, in response to a question about selling HECS debt, stated: ‘Britain have sold their HECS debt as an asset and we should investigate whether that is a sensible move for us to do so.’ This Flag Post looks at the UK experience of selling some of their student loan; of a 2007 proposal to sell more that did not proceed and of recent proposals to again sell part of their student debt asset.Pre 1998 debtThe UK Labour Government introduced an income contingent student loan scheme similar to Australia’s HECS HELP programme in 1998. The student loan scheme that had existed since 1990 was a loan with fixed rate repayments over five years ... Read more...

Australia's current debt position - update June 2013

This Flagpost article aims to present Australia’s current debt position and how it has changed since prior Flagposts on Australia’s debt position. This Flagpost updates the latest available data on Australia’s level of debt for both the public and private sectors in gross and net terms, and compares it with previously published data. For definitions of gross and net debt the reader is referred to the Library’s earlier Flagpost titled Australia’s current debt position. Chart 1 below presents Australia’s current foreign debt for the March quarter of 2013 in gross and net terms for the public and private sectors. From Chart 1 it is clear that the private s... Read more...

Australia’s current debt position – update December 2012

In recent times a lot has been spoken about Australia’s debt level. It has been a major political issue since the lead up to the last federal election and at times has dominated the political arena. This article updates data published in earlier FlagPosts which reported on Australia’s current debt position at the time they were published. I therefore intend in this article to report the latest available data on Australia’s level of debt for both the public and private sectors in gross and net terms. For definitions of gross and net debt the reader is referred to the first FlagPost on Australia’s current debt position. Chart 1 below presents Australia’s curren... Read more...

Australia’s current debt position – update July 2012

In recent times a lot has been spoken about Australia’s debt level. This was no more evident than in the lead up to the last Federal election where it seemed to dominate debate. This article updates the data published in an earlier FlagPost titled Australia’s current debt position. I therefore intend in this article to report the latest available data on Australia’s level of debt for both the public and private sectors in gross and net terms. For more information on gross and net debt the reader is referred to the earlier FlagPost. Chart 1 below presents Australia’s current foreign debt for the first quarter of 2012 in gross and net terms for the public and private... Read more...

Australia's current debt position

The Parliamentary Library has published an update on Australia’s debt levels—please see Australia’s current debt position – update July 2012.In recent times a lot has been spoken about Australia’s level of debt. This was no more evident than in the lead up to the last Federal election where it seemed to dominate debate. Terms like net and gross debt were thrown around with no real understanding of what these terms actually mean. Therefore, in this article I aim to not only report on Australia’s current debt situation, both public and private, but also shed some light on what is actually meant by these terms. When describing debt, the most often reported term is net debt. Net debt, simply sta... Read more...

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