Recession is not inevitable despite the federal budget heading for deficit, Opposition Leader Malcolm Turnbull said on Monday.
His comments came after Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan earlier admitted the budget would go into deficit, collapsing by $115 billion amid a growing global recession.
“I wouldn’t say it (recession) is inevitable at all,” Mr Turnbull told reporters in Canberra.
He called on the government to make each part of its reaction to collapsing financial markets “effective” before repeating earlier criticism about the stimulus package delivered late last year.
Mr Turnbull also upped his direct attack on Mr Rudd, labelling him a “born-again socialist” who did not understand the financial crash.
“Over the holidays a lot of people read fiction,” the Liberal leader said.
“It sounds like Mr Rudd spent his holidays writing fiction,” Mr Turnbull said, referring to a lengthy essay written by the prime minister.
In the essay, the prime minister promises greater government intervention and regulation in the market.
“His remarks about regulation are truly bizarre. From what I’ve read of his essay it sounds like a feat of imagination,” Mr Turnbull said.
“There should always be more good regulation and less bad regulation.”
“The critical thing is getting regulation right.”
Mr Turnbull reiterated a long list of coalition plans to attack the economy including wide-ranging tax cuts.