Australian Left Review

Article Title

Whatever happened to The Debt?: Externally Yours



Paul Keating's February One Nation statement represented a significant change of vision in the government's conduct of macroeconomic policy. It recognised both the need for a fiscal stimulus (by increased government spending) to a stagnant economy with an unacceptably high level of unemployment, and the importance of public infrastructure and social investment in providing enhanced national productive capacity. The statement's most startling feature, however, was the absence of any significant initiatives specifically directed at that problem which, for the last decade, has been Australia's chief policy preoccupation— the external constraint on domestic economic growth. One Nation's failure to attack this issue adequately, or even to acknowledge the failure of past policy strategies, highlights its inadequacy as a blueprint for future policy directions.