Keith Ng has done some useful research for his blog.
Keith has looked at what Dr Cullen said when the OBERAC was introduced in 2001:
“the OBERAC, which may be regarded as the measure of the underlying surplus…”
He also points out that the cash surplus was not mentioned in his 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 or 2004 budget speeches. Only in 2005, when he needed to try and con people into thinking there was no room for significant tax relief, did it appear in a budget speech. Anyone who trys to argue that capital expenditure should be funded out of operating surpluses, is intellectualy dishonest in my opinion.
Keith, not known for his advocacy for the centre-right (on the basis he blogs at Public Address :-), basically says the same thing:
It’s baffling. Not only is it just a load of shit, it’s an load of shit that politically negates the work he’s done over the past five years. It obscures his true, reasonable, honestly impressive objectives and replaces it with an unbelievable and unbelieved lie that would serve little purpose even if it was believed.
Incidentially I disagree with Keith on the issue of large surpluses needed for future superannuation, but we’ll debate that another day.