Surplus Is Not Necessary, Says Labor Senator

Article excerpt

LABOR senator Doug Cameron has told federal Labor not to get hung up on delivering a budget surplus in the next financial year.

The senator, who is from the left faction, was speaking in favour of an amendment to the Australian Labor Party (ALP) platform on the economy to release the government from its target.

aWe should never have a fetish for a surplus,a Senator Cameron told delegates at the party's national conference in Sydney yesterday.

aWe should say that if ... our community is in trouble we should look after them and if that means we should go into a budget deficit to save jobs we should do that.a

Treasurer Wayne Swan has pledged to deliver a $1.5 billion surplus in 2012/13, after a $37.1 billion deficit this year.

Federal Labor backbencher Yvette D'Ath said the current platform supported the commitment Labor had made to voters in 2010 to return the budget to surplus, and should not be amended.

She said Labor could not roll out its reforms and build infrastructure without managing its budget properly, adding it was important the global community had confidence in Australia.

Frontbencher David Bradbury said it was important surpluses be delivered over the course of the economic cycle, urging delegates to vote the amendment down. …