debt

Labor leader Anthony Albanese’s budget reply speech failed to offer an alternative course to the Coalition government’s gas and arms export-based vision, argues Peter Boyle.

I know exactly where I was on August 9, 2007. It was a hot summer’s day — “debtonation day”.

Bankers all over the world had lost their collective nerve and refused to lend to each other. The globally synchronised financial system froze, and began its descent into sustained failure. It then took more than a year, and Lehman Brothers’ collapse, before the world understood the gravity of the crisis.

Ten years on, that slow-motion crisis, a prolonged period of disinflation, noflation and deflation, is still playing out.

An event of profound importance took place in Brussels on July 12. The significance of the European summit negotiations extends well beyond the immediate — and devastating — consequences for the people of Greece. The fallout will not just affect the stability of the Greek government and the political future of SYRIZA and Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras.
The debt imposed on Greece and its people by creditors directly infringes the human rights of Greeks and is “illegal, illegitimate and odious”, a preliminary report issued by the Audit Committee on Public Debt declared on June 17. The finding came as talks between Greece and its creditors finished without a deal on June 18. The International Monetary Fund is threatening the near-bankrupt country with default unless it pays the US$1.7 billion it owes by the June 30 deadline.
As the sun sets on Australia’s mining boom the RBA feels it needs to stimulate the economy by lowering interest rates. In February the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) reduced the cash rate to 2.25%, a rate it then maintained at its March meeting. While there has been a great deal of commentary on this in the mainstream press, especially in the Australian Financial Review, the left press (for lack of a better term) has been stunningly silent.
A multi-party conference in Lahore on August 29 has launched a campaign to cancel Pakistan's crippling foreign debt and to organise mass rallies in Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad. The first rally took place on September 2 in Islamabad. The Labour Relief Campaign, in association with Oxfam Pakistan, called the conference to discuss the issue of debt repayment in the post-flood scenario. It was chaired by Aman Kariaper and Ammar Ali Jan. Senator Hasil Bezinjo vowed to take the issue to Pakistan’s Senate and present a resolution to demand that government refuse to pay the foreign debt.
Venezuela foreign minister Nicolas Maduro said on June 2 that Venezuela’s announced cancelling of Haiti's debt of US$395 million with Petrocaribe was now official. Petrocaribe is a program under which the Venezuelan government offers discounted oil, to be paid back over long-term low-interest loans, to Caribbean and Central American nations. Maduro made the announcement after the World Summit on the Future of Haiti. The summit was held in the Dominican Republic with the participation of representatives from 50 countries.
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