Coalition abolish debt limit with help of Greens

Greens leader Christine Milne.
Greens leader Christine Milne. Contributed

THE Coalition has reached an agreement to abolish the debt limit with the minor party once described as "economic fringe-dwellers".

Greens leader Senator Christine Milne announced the deal was reached late today, removing the need for regular debates over increasing the limit.

Sen Milne said the government had agreed to The Greens terms that the government update parliament every time Commonwealth debt rises by $50 billion or more.

She said it would also increase transparency around the true position of the government's finances, including improved budget reporting standards and 10-year budget forecasts, rather than the current four-year estimates.

"Instead of just ranting about debt now people will be able to have a justification from the government, and people can scrutinise that debt," she said.

"The Greens has always said we will also work with all sides of government on whatever issues to get outcomes."

Her comments follow Treasurer Joe Hockey on Wednesday saying he had "no problem" with more budget transparency, or the proposal from The Greens.

The deal is the first made between the Abbott Government and The Greens, despite the Coalition campaigning against deals between the minor party and Labor in the last parliament.

It comes after Shadow Treasurer Chris Bowen repeatedly ruled out allowing the debt limit to rise to $500 billion, in line with a government request.

Mr Bowen had demanded the rise be limited to $400 billion, but the deal with The Greens has effectively circumvented the Opposition on the issue.

The deal follows comments from senior Coalition frontbenchers that the minor party were "economic fringe-dwellers.

"When you go around calling people names, as they did for a long time, that is a reflection on their level of maturity, not on people trying to find a responsible outcome," Sen Milne said.

"Clearly the Coalition is going to have to rethink their views about The Greens as economic management."

Topics:  abbott government chris bowen christine milne greens joe hockey

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