I have deep concerns about our ongoing commitments to organisations like the IMF and the United Nations, in particular where we are pledging what is effectively borrowed money to support the bailout of nations that can’t manage their own financial affairs. I don’t have that much confidence in the IMF as the arbiter of responsible financial management. If they were having a positive role in international affairs, you would expect that they would pre-empt and be able to forecast some of the crises that have captured the globe—for example, Greece, which was on a trajectory to bankruptcy for many decades. The problem we have right around the world is that the level of debt is far too high, because governments of all persuasions insist on giving people the impression that there can be a magic placement of cash that they don’t have to work for, that they can just receive, and everything will be all right. There is this perception of, ‘What’s in it for me?’

One of the great tragedies is that Australia is heading down the same path. About 50 per cent of the people in this country receive more in benefits than they pay in taxes. It operates such that the top 10 per cent of earners pay in the region of 40 or 50 per cent of the taxes, or even more. That’s simply not sustainable. Those on the other side of the chamber will say that they should be taxed more to provide more benefits. Well, that’s wrong. It is absolutely wrong. We need to get our own house in order before we can be better, more responsible contributors to the global economy, and pledging access to some billions of dollars for the IMF—about $8.6 billion, I understand, of money borrowed from Australian taxpayers—doesn’t seem very prudent to me. In fact, it’s less than prudent. It’s foolish; it’s inane.

First of all, we have obligations to repay the intergenerational debt that has been clocked up by those on both sides of the chamber in the past 10 years. That is expected to peak at $726 billion, but I can tell you now, that will not be the peak. The runaway debt in this country shows no signs of abatement at all, and I would lay London to a brick that the debt incurred in the last 10 years will not be repaid while any of the current members of this place are still here. We’ll all be long gone and leaving it to others to pay for the activities and the actions that successive governments have responded to. So, I’m opposed to the International Monetary Agreements Amendment (New Arrangements to Borrow) Bill 2017, because we are pledging borrowed money to give to an organisation that is unaccountable and unelected and that then gives the money to countries that have been unable to manage their finances. It’s imprudent; it’s illogical. There is a better way. So, I oppose this bill.

Chamber Senate on 11/09/2017 Item BILLS – International Monetary Agreements Amendment (New Arrangements to Borrow) Bill 2017 – Second Reading Speaker: Bernardi, Sen Cory / Parliment Transcript used for Truth in News Reporting

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