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Features Australia

Our foreign debt time bomb

An explosion threatens when interest rates rise

27 January 2024

9:00 AM

27 January 2024

9:00 AM

Kim Beazley called it the ‘fully imported lorry of lies’. The then-deputy prime minister was referring to a Mazda made in Japan that opposition leader John Howard named the ‘debt truck’. Ahead of the 1996 election, the mobile billboard was designed to stir alarm about Australia’s swelling foreign debt.

When the truck appeared in the spring of 1995, Australia’s net foreign debt – what Australians owe foreigners minus the inverse – stood at $186 billion.

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