This week I saw a news clip on the teev showing Leader of the Opposition Malcolm Turnbull spruiking the former Howard Government's financial record and bagging the Rudd Government's level of public debt.
There was even a snippet from a coming Liberal Party advert on the subject.
"18 months ago we had no debt and cash at the bank."
And there's the rub - Mal was so foolish as to say that the Howard Government went out on zero debt.
How stupid does he think the average punter is?
Does he really think no-one was watching the growing current account deficit, outstanding Treasury bonds, level of government borrowing and interest payments before November 2007?
For heaven's sake - in 2006 total public sector gross foreign debt was 9.1% of GDP, in 2007 it was 7.7% of GDP and a big chunk of that was general government & Reserve Bank borrowing.
As for total gross national public debt.
Well, let's look at that graph again.
A history of public debt in Australia
See a 2006 0r 2007 zero there anyone?
The fact that Turnbull appears to be bragging about a lack of net public debt by 2006-2007 doesn't mean that there is absolutely no Commonwealth debt.
It simply means that government liabilities (mostly in the form of debt) were matched with financial assets which it could if needed sell-off to meet outstanding debt and interest obligations.
However, I suspect that with Costello as Treasurer these net figures became a trifle rubbery over time. Commonwealth unfunded superannuation liabilities and net claims were an ongoing problem in the final Costello budget.
As a millionaire ex-merchant banker, Turnbull can't pretend that he doesn't know that the Libs are trying to pull the wool over voter's eyes and he can't walk away from the fact that he is telling a political whopper in that first advert of a blatant disinformation campaign.
Who could honestly feel comfortable with the thought of this man's hands on the national helm?