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Senate close to scrapping debt ceiling

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The Senate is on the verge of ending a parliamentary gridlock over the debt ceiling by approving a move to scrap the legislative cap on government borrowings.

A government bill with Greens amendments is expected to clear parliament on Monday.

The coalition and the Greens, in a rare alliance, are combining to dump the debt ceiling – now at $300 billion – in exchange for greater transparency.

Labor’s leader in the Senate Penny Wong said much of the information was already available on the public record and she sought an explanation about what additional details would be disclosed.

Assistant Treasurer Arthur Sinodinos said the government would set out the reasons for increased debt, resulting in a more informed debate.

There would be some “consolidation of data” already reported.

The government had wanted to raise the debt ceiling to $500 billion while Labor and the Greens, initially, wanted to restrict the increase to $400 billion.

A Senate vote on the Commonwealth Inscribed Stock Amendment Bill 2013 is expected after 12.30pm (AEDT) and it must return to the lower house for approval.

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