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Australia avoids debt shutdown

AFP-JIJI

Australia on Thursday avoided a U.S.-style shutdown after the government struck a deal with the Greens to abolish the nation’s debt ceiling. The current cap of AU$300 billion ($271 billion) was due to be hit next week. A bill to raise the limit passed the House of Representatives last month, but there was a standoff in the Senate.

Labor and the Greens hold the balance of power in the upper house and wanted to cap the debt ceiling at AU$400 billion, but the Tony Abbott-led government said that was not enough, and pushed for AU$500 million. After failing to drum up enough support for its preferred limit, the conservative government instead clinched a rare deal with the Greens to do away with the ceiling altogether.