Budget Surplus is like a company making a profit or a person having no debt and pay off the mortgage or credit card. Budget Surplus helps government reduces taxes and the economy is better for all. Budget Surplus always good for nation and the economy. On the other hand Budget Deficit and National debt is bad. Labor ruined the economy and wasted money on stuff and left a $300 billion national debt and huge deficits. Budget deficit is always bad for the nation and the economy.
I learned this rhetoric when I watched TV commercials many years ago when the great John Howard was PM of this country and he delivered 12 Budget Surpluses and paid off Labor's debt. Blame everything that is bad on Labor and blame Labor for the debt and blame Labor for the tough measures needed to get back to Budget Surplus. You do not need an education when TV ads and tabloid shows tell us how the economy works.
Australia has historically always had a substantial amount of debt. But that is serviceable debt.
At the moment, Australia's national debt is about $610 billion dollars, that isn't Labors fault... Nor is it even a bad thing, it's not even 1:1 debt to GDP ratio, allot of that debt was piled on by the Liberal party.
A "surplus" in Government terms is where income exceeds expenditure, so you can still have $1 trillion dollar worth of debt and be in a surplus. It's just bullshit word play to make a Government seem more fiscally responsible.
At the end of the day, debt is money going into the economy, which results in growth... Remember Australia is a sovereign state with full control over it's currency, it's more than capable of playing with inflation and paying that debt off rather quickly... But that would have dire catastrophic effects for our economy.
In saying that, Labor came to power when Australia had about $58 billion in debt, Labor did spend hundreds of billions in dollars... But in doing so, Australia avoided a recession which ravaged the entire developed world, so it was economically the right move.
Plus we need to take a look at how the Liberals managed to pay that debt down... They did so by selling off Australian assets, they sold off our energy grid, they sold off our telecommunications, they sold off a ton of infrastructure... The result is a steady rise in the cost of living, it's no coincidence we have some of the highest power and telecommunication costs in the developed world and often (I.E. Broadband) trail other developed nations in terms of overall service quality... Not to mention the idea of other nations like China owning our assets left right and center.
In short, there are Pro's and Con's to each approach that each party takes... You should probably try and get information from sources other than an Advert on television and garner an understanding of basic economics, it's not as black and white as you portray it to be.