PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3999


Photo of Fraser, Malcolm

Fraser, Malcolm

Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983

More information about Fraser, Malcolm on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 08/12/1975

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 3999

~ A EXLNSCRIPT IS T. PJ,' E1 1F. 1Oh1 A TiC. iE ii~ J~ TNOT
MAX 1-V TthS, CNairman E1ationaa'. Press Club-.
Mr. Fraser has accepted our invitation to addrc-s the C. lub in
the closingZ week of the election campaign with the poll to b) e
held next Saturday. it is tradition that the Club provides this
national forum for Australia's political leaders to sua up their
campaign on the eve of polling day. The L~ abor Party lteader and
former Prime INinister, tbhe Hon. Gough Vthitlam will address the
Club on Wednesday. Mr. Fr-aser first addressed tae club erlier
this year aster he was elected Parliwnentary leader of the Libe-ral:
Party. Today we have a huge audience of about 570, which is a
record for the N~ ational Press Club and one which we expect io
match on Wednesday. Our one regret however is that bccause olf.
space problems in this huge room due to an earlier bonkinge ,, e
have reluctantly had to turn away nearly another 1.00 who vishbed to
attend and might I remind members that there i~ s a club ruling that
demonstrations of -partiality are to be resisted. Mir. T7raser,,
there is no need to summarise your career history which began in
the Federal Parliament in 1955. 1 therefore now.. invite you to
address the Club and following. your address whichi-ohould run up
to an agreed roughly 20 minutes, we have aimecd to allow double that
time for questions which I remind members are restricted to full
and financial members who are working journalists.
Mr. President, Excellencies, ladies and goiitlemen, if m~ y reariks
do go slightly beyond the 20 minutes 11= perfectly happy I. o stay
here a little longer so people won't be denied the opportunity
to ask questio. ns. I'd like to start just by zmaking or noting

53/ 2/ 1975 " Press Club Luncheon" 2.
that Mr. Ifnitlarm seems to be fitting in very well into his job
as Opposition Leader. He has already put doin some questions on
notice. If anyone wants to ask those questions verbally I wouldn't
dream of course of trying to rule them out of order.
As we look forward to the last quarter of the 20th century,
Australia faces a difficult and testing time at home and abroad.
At home in the mediate future we are confronted with the kind of
economic crisis many of us believed could never happen here. A
crisis compounded of high and rising unemployment and high.
inflation. A crisis that should never have occurred. Abroad
we're facing a world of uncertainty and inistability. Of great
global problems which will require great ingenuity and goodwill
to solve. Beyond these problems there are the less obvious but
nonetheless vitally important issues that concern the very basis
of our way of life and style of government. It is about thesepr
that I am going to talk today. These issues concern the very
manner in which Australia is to be governed over the next quarter L
of a century and beyond. They concern the relationship of
government to the people and the extent to which people can control
their own lives in a society int. which governments tend to be
increasingly intrusive and demanding. They concern the relationship
between individuals and other institutions in our society,
especially large businesses and large trade unions. We must make
sure that these institutions remain responsive to the needs of the
people within them. And finally among these crucial issues is
the question of whether we as a people can find a renewed faith
* and commitment to our capacity to provide a decent life for every
person while at the same time encouraging the very best that the
Australian people can offer. Australia is changing, the world is
changing. Australians increasingly recognise that the old conflicts
and divisions have less and less meaning. There are manytrade

unionists who ho longer feel cany identification with the Party
of their traditional support. They no longer feel,-for obvious
reasons, that there is any necessary relation between their own
needs and the policies of that Party. income and opportunities
in Australia are more equally distributed than in almost any other
cou-try in the world despite the existence of significant pockets
of disadvantage and real need remaining within our oin community.
The challenges that face us now are new. In many ways they are
exciting. The degree of social and economic equality we have
provides an uncommon chance for Australia.
ArnoldToynbee wrote 12 volumes examining the rise and fall of
societies and civilisations, and he concluded that the
essential factors in a successful response to challenge were the
quality of government and the character of the people. If we face
our problems squarely and do our best to understand them, I'm
confident that we can meet whatever challenges might be in front
of us.
Sir Robert Menzies in his book " The Measure of the Years" laid
down his view of the obligations of an Opposition Party. He said
that an Opposition Party had an obligation to re-think policies,
to look forward, to devise a body of ideas at once sound and
progressive. Opposition must be regarded as a great constructive
period in the life of a Party, properly considered, not a period
in the wilderness, but a period of preparations for the high
responsibilities that you hope will come. We, in the Liberal and
National Country Parties had spent our time in Opposition preparing
one of the most far reaching, exciting and progressive programmes
that we have ever attempted. I'm confident that if the Australian
people approve our policies on December 13 next Saturday, we can
make an effective start on meeting the problems we face.
It will be our objective to bring inflation under control. and get I
8/ 12/ 1975 " Press Club Luncheon"

8/ 12/ 1975 " Press Club Luncheon" 4.
unemployment down as rapidly as possible. Establish a style and
framework of government that will lead to effective policy formulation
and decision making. Make government taxation policies more open
and honest. Establish co-operative, not conflicting relations
betwieen the Federal Government and state and local governments
Strengthen the autonomy, responsibility and flexibility of levels
of government closest to the people and reserve the excessive
centralisation of power in the Federal Government. Encourage, and
where necessary, legally eotablish procedures that will make sure
that large business enterprises remain responsive to the needs of
the people who work in them. Similarly we will establish
procedures which ensure that trade unions remain responsive to
the needs of their members and aren't caught up in search of power
for power's sake. We'll ensure that all people, the socially
and economically disadvantaged, as well as the better off, have
maximum freedom of choice, not only in the goods they buy, but
in the educational, welfare and other services as well. As part
of the cnouragement of choice and diversity, strengthen tolerance
and understanding of differing life styles. Australia has moved
beyond the age of narrow anglo saxon conformity and government
must recognise this, and Australia is a better place for having
moved beyond that.
Finally, we'd ensure that all people have opportunities and
encouragement to achieve of their best so that all Australians
can benefit as a result. Only in this way can Australia be a
nation of independent people, confident in their own abilities
to achieve and master their own destinies. Only in this way
can all Australians have that strong foundation of self respect
on which tolerance and genuine and willing co-operation can be

8/ 12/ 1975 " Press Club Luncheon"
If the Australian people approve our approach next Saturday we'll
establish a style of government through which we can give effect
to and develop our policies. One of the first concerns will be to
secure the integrity and professional character of the public
service, free from political appointments. Our system of government
can only work effectively and efficiently with a politically
neutral public service. Legal procedures will be established
uhich will secure the best appointments to this end. These
procedures will be incorporated in the public service Act. These
procedures will ensure that suitable candidates from within the
public service are not passed over, while not precluding appointments
from outside the service. Obviously before legislation
is drafted, advice of the Public Service Board and other senior
people would be sought but broadly the framework we have in mind
would run like this: The Public Service Board for the appointment
of Permanent Heads for example, could put forward a short list
of suitable candidates from within the service. The Board chairman
. would consult with senior permanent heads in preparing that list.
A short list would go to the Minister concerned and to the Prime
Minister. If there are doubts about the suitability of people,
the chairman of the board would be consulted, if additional names
put forward did not dispel the doubts, the vacancies would then be
advertised. But if it is advertised, a high level selection
committee, including the chairman of the board, at least one other
permanent head, would be formed to interview candidates. The
selection committee would list three or more most suitable
candidates in order of preference and that would go to the Minister
and the Prime Minister. The Minister would obviously interview
the candidates that are put forward and in this way proper
procedures will be followed and the integrity of the service
maintained and protected.

Club 6.
8/ 217 PesCu Luncheon"
Government would not be precluded from appointing outsiders without
advertisement, outside the procedures, but in such case it
would be understood that succeeding governments could review such
an appointment, in other words, such an appointment would have no
permanency attached to it. These rules would apply to all future
appointments. They would not apply restrosepctively. We would not
alter the rules under which past appointments have been made.
Wie don't believe that one mistake could be rectified, or should be
rectified, by making another,
Under the Liberal, National Country Party Government, the permanent
head of a department would be expected to be the senior adviser
to the MYinister. He'll also be expected to take into account not
only information available from the Department but information
available from the wider Australian community. Outside advice
will be, and ought to be be, actively sought, and in the past this
wasn'-t always done as much as it should be. All groups and sections
of the community must have the right to put their views before the
government but the procedures for offering advice will not be allowed
to be a battlefield of endless conflict of competing advice.
We'll ensure that the protection of public service integrity and
professionalism does notplace a wall between government and the
community because that would be a disaster.
Parliament itself must be revived as the central forum of our
system of Government. If the Liberal National Country Party are
returned on Saturday, major policy announcements will be made in
the Parliament while the Parliament is sitting. As part of our
plan to revive Parliament, our policy of tax indexation of course
will have an important role to play and I think this has been
unnoticed hitherto. One of the most iniquitous effects of inflation
has been that the rapidly rising tax burden of the last few years.
People are paying every year a larger proportion of their incomes

8/ 12/ 1975 " Press Club Luncheont7
on taxation, though this has never been specifically autho.-i. sed
by the Parliament. A basic principle a representative government
has been overturned by inflation. Under inflation taxation
increases automatically if Parliament makes no decision. Under
present conditions Parliament has to take an initiative -only if
it wishes to stop the increase in taxation. The protection afforded
to the people by the requirement-that Parliament must approve
increases ini taxation has been almost nullified by inflation.
These unauthorised tax increases have been a major, if not the
O major, factor in the inflationary wage demand and in the
destruction of business profitability and job opportunities.
Our programme of tax indexation will establish the principle of
0 parliamentary control over tax increases if they're to occur.
It will establish once and for all the principle of government
accountability for tax increases. Our tax reforms will not
merely be a major element in economic recovery, they'll make
debate on taxation matters mean what they ought to mean. They'll
bring into the open some of the most important decisions any
government can take. They'll make governments in Australia more
honest. There are a number of other reforms which would significantly
improve the level of performance of parliament and which could
be introduced in the near future. They are reforms because they
affect the procedures of parliament that I believe ought to have
the support of all parties. One of the most valuable reforms of
parliament as an institution would be to improve the scope and
effectiveness of its committee system. An estimates or an
expenditure committee, such as exists in the House of Commons,
would do much to improve parliament's capacity to control
government spending and watch over administration. It would be
a committee sitting throughout the year and examining the principles

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 8.
and procedures adopted by departments in the formation of estimates.
I believe there is also a valuable r-ole for a steering committee
to assist of passage of non controversial legislation. Such a
Committee could decide to direct legislation either to special
purpose committees or to the whole House, depending on the importance
of the matters under review. Such a committee could promote a more
considered debate in an appropriate forum, and I have spelled out
my ideas on these particular matters in much greater detail in the
Parliament itself. It will be one of our principle objectives to
improve the performance of Parliament and so strengthen its
authority and the practical contribution it can make to the
repnil 0 srla A further pre-condition for the effective
operation ofL-the Parliamentary system is a system of cabinet
government which can arrive at co-ordinated government policies.
M~' inisterial initiative is essential, but the Cabinet, a Cabinet
of reasonable size, must ensure that these initiatives form part
of an overall approach to the achievement of national goals. if
the Australian people support us on Saturday, we will immediately
assert the central role of Cabinet in deciding national policy.
on a basis of Cabinet responsibility and accountability we can
establish sound management of Australia's affairs. An effectively
operating Federal Government will provide the foundation to
implement our three year program of economic recovery. Not
merely must a Federal Government be able to develop and implement
those policies effectively, it must also be able to work effectively
with other governments. The Federal Government should facilitate,
not hinder State and Local Governments informing and implementing
the policies appropriate to their own areas. Australia is a
federal country and will remain so. It will remain so for good
reason. Australia has very clear and natural reasons, regions,
largely represented by the States. As in the United States, the
Australian Senate reflects that fact. Indeed the American
founding fathers gave their senate more substantial powers even
than our Senate. Powers which have led America to the State's
House becoming a dominant chamber-Even if we had no States,
it could still be necessary in the interests of effective policy
development and implementation, to formally acknowledge that
policies would have to be acceptable to the great natural regions

8/ 11 2/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 9.
of Australia and not merely to those areas where the great majority
of people live in M~ elbourne and Sydney. The federal structure of
the Australian Government is critically necessary from another
vieiwroin; as well. It is increasingly important that a politically
aware and active population should be able to participate, and
participate effectively in political decisions of importance. As
our society becomes larger and more complex, it is imperative that
local levels of government should be revitalised. Increasing the
centralisation of government power in Canberra is positively
dangerous. The more power is centralised, the less is it subject
to popular influence and popular control. A highly centralised
government, seeking more and more power for itself, is totally
inappropriate to a complex, diverse, changing and well educated.
society. It is totally inappropriate to a country as far flung as
Australia. Instead of central control, there should be improved
procedures for co-ordination and co-operation between levels of
government on matters of common concern. Our reforms to financial
arrangements between Federal, State and Local governments and the
Council for Inter-gov'r-nmental relations, we will es~ tablish, will
do more to achieve these objectives than any reform to the federal
system since federation. These reforms will make it possible for
Local and State governments to plan ahead on a way that has not been
possible in the past. They are part of a broader program to incrdase
the substance and effectiveness of Local Government. Our social
welfare policy for example, in line with the recommendations of the
Henderson Commission of Inquiry into Poverty, places special weight
on the role of Local Government in the co-ordination and provision

~"/ lP2/ r7e5 ss Club Luncheon"' 10
of welfare services at the local level. With such an emphasis,
it should be possible to avoid the impersonality of centrally
provided services and to tailor services to the needs of the local
area. The need to reform our institutions, to ensure that they
are aware of the needs of the individuals, and not merely to the
needs of bureaucracy, applies of course not merely to government.
It applies equally to business and to the trade unions. No
organisation, whether it be a political party, a business or a
union, has ary inherent right to survival. Its justification
is the sertices it provides to individuals. Countries for
example, find their justification in the extent to which they
provide decent jobs, worthwhile goods and services which the
community wants and provide a reasonable return for those who
invest in them. The justification for the existence of
companies is the service they provide the community. Trade
unions find their justification in the extent to which they
improve the condition of their members, consistent with the
interests of the community as a whole. The best companies, the
best trade unions recognise this social obligation, but there are
many in both areas that do not. We must encourage all companies
and trade unions to follow the example of the best. It is
obvious that there is still great scope to improve the quality
of and participation in decisions about working conditions. it
is obvious that there is still a great need to increase the
flexibility with which people can choose their work. The rigid
nine to five working hours . Chstill apply in many business
preclude * many people from working in them. Greater flexibility
of working hours will meet the needs of people and of businesses.
-6/ 12/ 75

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 11.
There is further a great need to improve the opportunities
for participation by union members in the affairs of their own
anions. Our policies dealing with portability of pensions
and superannuation schemes, increased works consultation on shop
floor matters, our policies on flexible hours, special facilities
for working mothers and for elections in unions and employer
organisations would all make an important contribution to the
achievement of these objectives. The aim of our policies, is to
Sencourage the growth of an Australia which is adaptable, strong
and capable of facing and surmounting challenges. Government
must create the conditions for the development of a vital, dynamic
society. It must also encourage our sense of a common interest
in people. The present economic crisis can only be overcome
if the Government accepts its obligation to point the way if its
policies encourage the co-operation of all Australians. We in the
Liberal and National Country Parties pledge ourselves to work for
that spirit of national co-operation. I believe that the program
on which we are fighting this election provides the basis for that
co-operation. It is a program that seeks to advance the right of
every Australian to freedom, self respect and a real opportunity
to fulfil themselves and their life in their own It is a
program that will help build Australia which can survive in the
uncertain world in which we live. It is a program we are proud to
place before the Australian people for their judgment.
Thank you Mr Fraser. We now turn to questions from our media
members. I would remind them would they identify themselves and
and their organisations and please keep their questions brief, and
I would stress right here and now that in this-huge room we have

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Lu& ncheon" 12.
had in the past and will continue to have and hopefully won't
have in our own club building next year, some hearing problems
of questions. I just ask you to bear with that and wouald ask
our questioners to speak up as loudly as possible. The first
question is Nikky Savva...
We supported this Children's Commission when it went through
the power, and one of the things I have not been able to understand
is why it took so long to get the Commission properly established?
As You know, it was only an interim committee that has been
established. The Commission itself has not been established
and this is one of the matters that I shall be examining, hopefully,
after next Saturday.
Would you consider you handled the news media well during the
campaign and do you consider you have received more
than favourable treatment from the proprietors?
The first question is one that the media themselves will have
to judge and so far as the other one is concerned, I think the
media can make their own judgments about that. There is a habit
amongst politicians to blame the media where things are going
badly for them.
You promised Statehood to the Northern Territory inaudible
with less than half the voting population of the ACTI, will the

8/ 12/ 75 ",. Press Club Luncheon" 13.
ACT be granted a similar degree of independence if you are elected
on December 13?
Our Policy for the Australian Capital Territory does emphasise
the need to have Lmaximum autonomy that is possible, executive
responsibility in the local assembly, but there is one very
significant difference that everyone will recognise between the
Australican Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. For
better or worse, the national capital is also in the Australian
Capital Territory and therefore the relationship between the
Commonwealth Government and the Australian Capital Territory
Assembly will necessarily be different in quality and character
I would think to that between theCornmonwealth Government and the
States. We would need working parties to examine this particular
matter to see how much executive authority can be transferred to the
local Assembly.
During the campaign, you have refused under questioning regarding
to two key factors on the M~ edi-bank scheme inaudible Firstly
free treatment in hospital wards, and secondly the 85% refund from
the super health insurance fund offices. Can you tell us in these
circumstances why the public should not think that you are retaining
the name I-edi-bank but destroying the scheme?
Because we have said we are going to maintain the scheme and the
answer to that is very simple. I think that was one of Mr.
Whitlam's questions if I can recall it correctly. Oh well, other
people have got a right to know and I said I would not rule any

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club ILuncheoh"' 14.
question out of order. But the scheme has not been operating
long enough for us to get an assessment of it from the States, from
the hospitals from the profession and also from the consuming public.
The patients have a right to be consulted in -these particular matters
and I am not saying that it is easy to assess the reactions of
patients in these particular matters, but the scheme will be continued
as it wa-s introduced until we can assess properly its virtues and
whatever faults might be revealed as a result of experience. Then
public statements would be made about that and everyone would have
an opportunity to express their views in relation to it. . Meanwhile,,
Wthe scheme continues as introduced.
You are reported in the Canberra Times as saying that rural
concessions should not cost the urban taxpayer. Could you please
explain this?
I was referring there to support for the wool reserve price scheme
which is loan at.-the modest interest rate charged by the Government
of 11% or Well that is in line with interest rates charged
everywhere and against the security of the clip, farmers pay for the
rate of interest and it is not a charge therefore on the taxpayer.
The Industry Assistance reports for the beef industry, there is a
significant loan element involved in that which also does not involve
a charge on the taxpayer, and they were the elements I was referring
Could I just ask a supplementary question? Doesthis mean that

8/ 12/ 75" Press~ Club Luncheon" 1
the open rule policy announced by IKrAtoy ilco6utoth
urban taxpayers' money?
The increased cost of Holden motor cars and refrigerators and
washing machines and wirelesses and T. V. sets also comes out of
the funds of the average Australian and the philosophical
difference in some instances between a subsidy and a tariff is not
as wide as some people would like to indicate. There are some
areas the super-phosphate bounty, nitrogenous fertiliser bounty,
T. B. and brucellosis eradication campaign which this year would cost
2.4m. Also a recommendation as that was of the Industries
Assistance Commission report, that would be a charge on the taxpayer,
but you asked in the first part of your question what I meant when
I said ' some matters were not' and the major matters especially in
relation to the wool corporation is not a charge on the taxpayer, they
are loan funds against the security of the clip for which many people
would believe a reasonably high rate of interest is paid.
A1UMIREW CLARK: National Times.
You quoted in the Australian of the last few days that you do not
believe that gaoling unionists is an appropriate punishment for
industrial offences. You say ( inaudible) ' Doug McCleland's talk of
fines, de-registration, garnisheeing of union funds and even court
actions are all hot air-and nonsense. However, the Coalition' s
industrial policy in which you play a'leading role says, that for
offenses like strikes you could ( inaudible). Consequences would include
' de-registrationg( ilaudible) or garnishee of funds, fines, exclusiol from
office of employer industrial officers or of office bearers of
organisations ( question unclear) innocent may claim damages for loss
suffered as a result of an unfair industrial practice. Is this still
your policy or not? Are the exclusions ( unclear) aimed at plotting
against trade union officials and does it mean that if a union official
refuses to reveal the whereabouts of his own union bank account, like
in the case of Terry O'Shea, he will be fined for comtempt ( inaudible)
(% his question was extremely difficult to hear)!

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club luncheon" 1
The question would have been more compete if it had indicated
that the answers given in Australia were in relation to questions
which concerned secret ballot legislation and they were restricted
to that. So if there was an implication in the question that it
had covered the whole area of industrial policy, in the question
today I mean, that of course was not true because the original
question was relating to secret ballot legislation. The other
parts of the industrial policy of course sband.
Mr Fraser, you have been accused of stone-walling daring this
campaign may we enter into this? Don't you think the people
of Australia have the right to know the answers to this particularly
oni the specific area of your economic policy. I just wonder how
you react to those accusations?
I am afraid you rather invited this but if it means that a person
must answer every question put in precisely the way the person who
asks it wants to get an answer, well if it means that, my reply to
that is, that is a lot of nonsense. There are some things that
can be said with responsibility and others that cannot. Now in
r'elation to our economic policy for example, I have said quite
plainly that the pace with which we can introduce the reforms,
major reforms will depend upon our success in reigning in the mad
extravagance of Liabor's expenditure. And I have emphasised that
in 72 years of Federation, the Federal Government's budget went to
ten thousand million dollars and in three years of Labor, it went
to twenty two thousand million dol-lars. I do not believe that any
organisation, any company, any business can increase its rate of
expenditure at that rate and not involve a good deal of extravagance

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 17.
and waste, and when we get the detailed reports from departments
and from the treasury, I am sure that that sort of thing will
unfold. So I believe that the Press have had a fair go, so far as
being able to ask me questions are concerned, but they have not always
got precisely the answer they wanted to get. I apologise for that
but the situation is not going to change.
FRED BAILEY: Adelaide Advertiser. & X.-A4.4-
Mr Fraser, you spoke of taxation reforms inaudible. After the
Selections on Saturday, what would be inaudible Labor's tax reform
inaudible to come into effect?
Well, it comes into effect and there are going to/ a great many
people who will regret it. Mr Lynch has just put out a statement
which indicates, for example, that students are going to be worse
off because apparently students allowances are going to be taxed
and there are copies of his statement I suggest that people get
a look at it'll show that students who get a student's al. lowance
and who under the present circumstances are lucky enough to get
part time employment will be paying significantly more tax.
That is a statement that Mr. Lynch has put out. But I had also
taken a number of examnples in relation to these matters because if
you took somebody in the last taxation years for which these sorts
of figures are available, the 1972-73 year, somebody then on
$ 7,000 per year, with a wife but no dependants, he would have been
paying C901 in tax and under the new scale he would be paying
S970 in tax. If you make an allowance for inflation at 15% o, they
will be paying $ 1338 in tax 16% 11 instead of 12.9% of his income.
A taxpayer with a wife and one child on $ 9,000 per year, would have

8/ 1P2/ 7r5 ess Club Luncheon" 18
been paying S1399 in tax under the new scale with no inflation
$ 1470 in tax under the new scale with 15% inflation $ D1897 in
tax. A very significant increase indeed. That is a taxpayer with
a wife and one child. There are other examples here that indiCate
the same results and this sheet of paper can be made available to
anyone who wants it. It does indicate that there are some examples
of taxpayers who are going to be very significantly worse off under
the Hayden tax system. It does come into force. It was one, as
part of the caretaker government it was one of the lists of Bills
that went to Proclamation that I think I signed, so it does come into
force. But we willbe immediately wanting to get people to look at
it to review the areas of injustice that we believe are involved in
the Hayden tax scales. The other point that I would like to make
is that, if you take people on fairly average incomes, you will find
that where the Hayden tax sheets that were handed out at the time of
the budget, had three sets of examples-one person with no
deductions, one person with 5% deductions and another with
deductions. The average deductions for the sort of people in the
average income groups are mcre in the region of 12 to 14% l~ or
and I am talking about people on modest incomes not on high incomes.
These people were not even mentioned on those tax sheets that Mr.
Hayden handed out, and when you look to the average deductions that
people did claim, you find that that quite often, puts them in a
worse position on the basis of the figures that I have just given you.
Because these figures were based on the taxpayers having the average
tax deductions for this particular income bracket.
Mr. Fraser, could I just allay the fears of some people who are just
wondering about questions I have on this sheet. At least sixteen or
8/ 12/ 7518.

8"/ P1re2s/ s7 5C lub luncheon" 1
seventeen names for future questions. We a-re getting through
them we have at least half an hour so, just please be patient.
PETER BLAZET4Y: Sunday Observer.
Any Prime Minister should have his health scrutinised to a degree.
Your illness before your policy speech has given rise to concern
about your health. I was wondering if I could ask a two part
question. The first part is if you would confirm that you have
ever sought the seirvices of a psychiatrist? The second part is
it true as is now being rumoured in Melbourne, that you sought the
S services of the P. sychiatrist Ainslie Meers, author of ' Relax Without
Drugs'? Is it true that medical authorities in Melbourne are now
wondering if Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister might be a health hazard?
Well, if that was meant as a joke, I think it has fallen slightly
flat! If I am going to answer any question I have to have some
opiinion of the person who asks it!
Mr Fraser, on 12 November, you asked the Press to be factual
rather than internoretative. Sir, could you help us in this job
by telling us whether you would describe a forty five million dollar
cut back in spending on tertiary education as severe or as non
essential. Is it true that plans are underway by your administration
to cut back this spending by such an amount, and can you give an
assurance that tertiary education spending will not be cut?
8/ 12/ 7519.

-' 7
8/ 12/ 75 " Press Cluab Luncheon"
We have already committed ourselves to the recommendations of
the Commission and I think that it woulId be a good idea to remind
people that it was the Labor party that destroyed triennial funding
for universities, colleges of advanced education, schools commission
the Australian Research Grants Commission and the National Health
and Medical Research Council and if people are wanting to ask us
questions about that, why not ask Hr. Whitlam. If I can put
Pa question on notice why did he destroy that basis of triennial
funding? ROSS GIBBONS Sydney Horning Herald.
M~ r Fraser, you have stressed the importance of tax indexation
in the maintenance of wage indexation. You also said that tax
scales won't be fully indexed until 1978. Do you really expect
wage indexation to last another three years?
I would have believed so, yes. At least we have made a
commitment to tax indexation which is much more than 1,1r. Hayden
and 11Wrhit lam have done.
DON WHITINGT01% T: Australian Press Services.
If you are returned to office, will you ensure that the electoral
act prohibits a major party financing an independent candidate
in an election campaign, in return for his preferences?
On two points there is one question on which-writs have been
served and I do not want to make any comment about that. On
another point where writs have not been served, I understand the
Australian Labor Party has financed advertisements for a certain

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 21.
Independent, up to $ 200,000. It is a point that certainly could well
be exarined.
Is it your view that Indonesia has acted properly in relation to
East Timor and a direct question, has Australia protested to Indonesia
over its actions, and if it hasn't, are you planning to lodge a full
* diplomatic protest?
I have had a number of discussions this morning with Mr. Peacock
and with the Department and with the head of my Department to see if
there are initiatives that Australia can usefully take. Mr. Peacock
made a statement yesterday, but meanwhile, I do not want to add any more
to what I have said.
Mr. Fraser can I ask you something else. Have we protested, are we
going to protest and at the end of the question what is your view
about Indonesia's actions?
Regret might be regarded as too modest a word, but the use of force
is never a proper way to solve any international problem and I think
that makes my own view completely clear about that. The words that
Mr. Peacock used yesterday may or may not, depending on your own
interpretation, be regarded as a protest. But I do not want to get
into the details of this particular matter because I have been having
discussions with the head of the department of Foreign Affairs and with
the head of my own department to see if there is any action that it

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon"? 22.
might be proper for Australia to take.
At the beginning of this campaign Mr. Fraser, you consistently
refrained to give any costing of your economic plans. Are you
asking people to go to the polls on Saturday, still ignorant of that
costing and its inaudible.
Not ignorant no, but the costing is going to depend upon the degree
to which we can reign in the extravagance of the previous Labor
Government and we have got to have as a prime objective, overcominig
inflation. It w. e do no overcome inflation, we will not be able to
revive business confidence adequately. We won't create the jobs
and opportunities that ought to be available to Australians. On
this sort of basis, it is not possible therefore, to indicate the
speed with which the proposals will be introduced until we have the
basis of which economies can be made without jeopardising essential
and important programs, which we would all want to see continue.
Mr. Fraser, this might be a question on notice, but on 15 November,
on Four Corners, you forcast that there would be no blow-up in Timor.
' Blow-up' was your word. Why did you s~ o forcast and on what advice?
Well, if that is what I did say on Four Corners on that occasion,
obviously it was incorrect, and later events have taken part in it.
Mr Fraser, Can you tell us why such important policy statements
as business development, equalisation formula and federalism

' 8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 2.3.
policies, and even your specific anti-inflation policy, have not
been introduced in advance of this election, and apparently
once ( inaudible).
Well the anti-inflationary policies have been announced and made
very clear and the change Ln direction that would begin on Sunxday,
is I think, also clear and very clear to the great majority of
Australians. This is one of those efforts really isn't it to put
certain figures, which it is just not practicable and would not be
responsible to do in the present c ircumstances. The major elements
of policy have been announced right around Australia. The question
of eoualisation has been covered in terms of absolute guarantees for
the less popular States with a smaller tax space, not only in terms
of fiscal capacity, but in terms of need, and in that extent our
equalisation provisions will be very much in advance of Canada's,
because in Canada the equalisation only refers to fiscal capacity
and not to need that might result from large area and greater
. distances and sparcer population. So the principles are laid
down, but quite obviously in a matter of that time, which will be
a highly technical one, you are going to need Federal and State official
to sit down and work out the details in a quite precise form. And i
have got no doubt it will take those officials many weeks, if not some
months of work to get to an appropriate formula.. And therefore,
having spelled out the principles, the details is a matter for
officials to be worked out between governments. I think there was
another element of the question Well, urban develonment is
another area again where a number of our policies will help with
urban development. The support for local government is going to

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 24.
help very much. I would have said that the essential urban
programs that have already been introduced will continue. Indeed,
a number of the programs that were due for signing and in the
capacity of care-taker Government carrying on the policies of the
previous Government, I have not pack-signed them and they continued
with the programs that have put and framed for this particular year.
If you leave any formula for the appointment of senior public
servants, and avoid political influence in those appointments,
Shave you seen the appointments of senior public servants only after
interview with the ministry involved as removing your objection to
the politicisation of the Public Service?
Well I think what I said must have been misunderstood. You said
' only after interview with the minister" as though it was the only
essential element in it. Now there are a number of steps and they
re all contained in the speech. The Board to put forward a short
list obviously to discuss that list with the M~ inister and the Prime
Mvinister. If there are doubts, another list. If there are still
doubts advertise the Board advertising. The Chairman of the Board
and other people being on a high level selection committee to put
forward a proposal. Now all of this leaves the initiative for putting
names forth in the hands of the Board and the Public Sergice, and it
is only under the circumstances in which the Minister and the Prime
Minister say no, we do not like any of these names, we are going to
appoint somebody else, alright they can appoint somebody else. But
that particular person would not be regarded as a permanent head in the

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon"
traditional sense and some incoming government or that same
government for that matter would be under no obligation to maintain
. if we establish proper procedures to make sure that the
Board's advice and the proper approach to selection of people
outside, which involves the Board very much in the procedures, in
every stage of the procedures, then I think we will go a long way to
remove the possibility of some of the political appointments that
have occurred in the past, which I believe are bad for the service
* andought not to occur in the future.
M1r. Fraser, in your policy speech, you promised not to give our
money to African terrorists. I assume by that you are referring
to the $ 150,000 which was given through UNICEF to women and children
in Zambia who had been affected by war. Dloes this promise, what it
is a specific one of cutting Government spending which you have
Smade mean that in future, humanitarian aid from Australia will only
go to countries with whose governments you yourself feel some
sympathy, if not ( inaudible)?
There was no understanding, I think, as to where that particular
money actually ended up. My understanding is that there was no
guarantee as to where it ended up and anyway, it was just a straight
statement. We are not going to provide aid to that sort of
organisation or to an organisation that espouses terror as a weapon
of achieving a political objective. Quite apart from that,
Australia has had a record in aid under the Labor Government.' and
under the previous Government which have had regard for the well
being of the people to whom the aid was directed and not necessaril~ y

K 8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club luancheon" 26.
al all to the political colour of the government concerned, and
that philosophy and approach will be continued.
M4r. Fraser you have made repeated statements that you think
people should have more freedom to decide how they spend their own
money by reducing -the tax burden. In terms of the Bass by-election
you used the slogan ' give the money back to the people who earned
it'. Can we then have aguarantee that in the three year program
to restore the Australian economy, you will not increase tax rates
for personal income tax, for company tax, for indirect tax,, for
levies, for excises or whatever2
I think that is another question on notice. Yes or no answers
are not necessarily the sort of answers that I might regard as
Oappropriate. The whole philosophy, and the whole thrust of what
we are saying on our economic policy, is that there needs to be a
change of direction. That more resources need to be placed in the
hands of individuals and of businesses, so that investment can
proceed, so that jobs can be created. We have even got Lionel
Bowen in the paper this morning saying how terrible it was that they
had made all sorts of mistakes, and I think it must be right. I am
not sure, but I think it was the Financial Review that reported it!
I don't suppose you really want me to categorise the mistakesthat
they claimed that they made, but they are all there. The whole
thrust of our policy is that we need to get more resources into
the free enterprise sector, whether it is businesses or individuals,
and the thrust of your question, of course, would run directly
counter to our basic policy objectives.

8/ 3-2/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 27.
Mir. Fraser, I asked you this. You have said the thrust is to
put more resources into the hands of' individuals and companies.
Surely, the thing that flows from that is what is going to happen
to tax rates affecting individuals and companies and surely you
can give an answer as to whether you are likely to increase them
over that period of time.;
4D As a long term matter, would you continue to make aid to rural
industry, dependent on prior reports and recommendation by the
Industries Assistance Commission in the same/ as applies to
secondary industry?
As a generality, yes. I can see some circumrstances -where the
emei'gency provisions of the Industries Assistance Commission
have now worked particularly well, and there are two sides to this
point providing aid and taking aid away and the 25% across
the board which was taking aid away from much of the secondary
industry, was one which led to a great deal of difficulty in the
exporting of tens of thousands of jobs. These matters ought to be
subject to impartial scrutiny and impartial advice. At the same
time, governments have got to make their own decisions in relation
to these matters. If the decisions happened to be contrary to
the advice, the government has got to stand up and explain the
reasons why.
PETER BOWERS: Sydney M~ orning Herald.
Mr. Fraser, have you decided on the size of your Cabinet, and
how many Ministers will it enclose?

8/ 12/ 175 " Press Club Luncheon" t 28.
The structure of' the Ministry would not be announced until after
Saturday. I think there is a good precedent in relation to that.
I think Mr. Whitlam adopted the same stance some time ago, and he
did set one or two precedents I am prepared to follow. It will be
a much more economic administration than his.
Mr. Fraser, would you agree that the devaluation of the Australian
dollar would be inflationary?
MR. FRIISER: I am not going to make any comments on devaluation
0of the Australian dollar. Australia has got substantial reserves.
It is in a strong position and I regret the attempts to revive
public debate which causes public doubts about the strength of
the Australian dollar.
O There have been widespread reports in the Press that a Liberal-
Country Party coalition ( inaudible)
This is one of' those areas where people just don't speculate, and
I am not going to blame the source, but the source of' the reports
were not from Liberal or National Country Party sources. Let me
make that quite plain, and I am not going to add to my previous
answer, for the very obvious reasons.
WARWICK BRACKEN: Canberra Times.
11r, Fraser, do you acknowledge any advantages to the tax rebate
system as opposed to the concessional system at all, and if you do,
could you tell us what they are?

7, 8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 29.
I think there are some advantages in both systems, and I have
got an open mind about the way in which the injustices I referred to
in the Hayden scheme should be overcome. There are some clear
advantages in some areas in relation to the rebate system, and I
think we would all know what they are.
TONY HiLL: Melbourne Herald.
Sir, would you accept that the use of the powers of Senate -twice
within eighteen months to block supply and so cause an electicn, has
led to certain instability, uncertainty in Australian political life?
Mr. Whitlam. has given an undertaking that if Labor has the balance of
power in the Senate after next Saturday, that power would not be used
to force a Liberal Government to the elections. Would you be
prepared, if you find yourself in opposition after Saturday, to give
a similar undertaking?
Ido not believe it has led to any unstability in the Australian
political scene. That power has been used by upper houses in the
States, and no instability has followed. The power was only used
because of the utter irresponsibility and incompetence of the
Government, and there will always be instability if we have a
government as incompetent and as irresponsible and deceitfu~ l as
the government that preceeded the present one. If I can just keep
the record straight, it is my understanding that I saw a qualification
of those remarkcs of Mir. Whitlam's in the newspapers this morning or
in this morning's reports, saying that he had a certain view but he
did not think he could hold the troops. Now if that is an accurate
report, it is a fairly accurate description of the relationship

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon"
between himself and his Ministry and senior Ministers over the
last two years.
Mr. Fraser, you promised to index tax for companies and individuals
although you refused to say if rates will be increased before you
do index taxes, you promised to pump hundreds of millions of dollars
into business, you promised to increase subsidies inito the riral
sector, you have also promised to balance the budget. Journalists
have been asking you consistently throughout the campaign how you
will achieve this. I want to ask you, have you been advised againS4t
answering questions of details concerning your policies? have you
been told by Yir. Gaul and Mr. Eggleton that Fir. Sneddon got into
trouble for giving detailed answers to questions and is this the
reason for your refusal to answer questions?
Well, maybe if people read more carefully what had been said in the
nature of the policy speech, they would not need to ask that kind of
question, but the assumptions that underlay the original part of that
question want checking, because some conclusions were made in relation
to the assumptions and part of them which need to be looked at very
carefully in relation to the time frame in which we said it is necessary
to achieve economic recovery. The statement is quite plain. It is
just not possible to indicate the rate at wh-ich the reforms can
be introduced until we can assess accurately on the advice of
departments, the speed with which we can reign in the extravagance Of
the previous Government. And if people doubt the extravagance of the
previous Government, you have only got to go to two figureo which T

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 31.
have already mentioned. Seventy two years of Australian Federaticn
to get to a total budget of Ten thousand million dollars and three
years of Labor more than double it to more than twenty two thousand
million dollars. Now obviously, we have got to go into this matter
very closely and very thoroughly, and we will need the advice of
departments to achieve it.
. JCEI JOSEPH continuing:
Mr. Fraser, is it your intention simply to you make the promises
will you be willing to sacrifice the promises if you are advised that
it is impossible to carry them out?
What we said we will do is practical and will be done.
Alan Thornhill and just before you start Alan, we have time for
four more questions after that, that is Brendan Donnelly, Andrew
Potter, Alan Fitzgerald and Laurie Oaks and then we will have to
* close. ALAN THOIUTHILL: Sydney M-orning Herald.
Mr. Fraser, you are the first person to date that I have heard refer
to Mr. Whitlam in the current situation as Leader of the Opposition.
On what parliamentary precedent do you justify this in current
circumstances? MR. FRASER:
He just happens to be Leader of the Opposition that's all.

8/ 12/ 75 1Press Club Luncheon" 32.
Mr. Fraser, would a Liberal-INational Country Party Government
consider introducing a system of tax-reimbursements in the A. C. T.
as applies in the States, and would consideration be given to
putting budgetry planning in the A. C. T. onto a three yearly basis?
Well budgetry planning for the Commonwealth is basically on
the way the budget is drawn up is in fact on an annual basis,
except as we know for the essential areas. Well, it is on an
annual basis for every area now, but it used to be on a triennial
basis for education and certain research programs. The
relationship with the Assembly in the Australian Capital Territory
and the Federal Government is one that will have to be worked out
with care. Our objective will be to achieve maximum local
autonomy, but because the national capital happens to be placed
in the Australian Capital Territory, it will be a different
S relationship from that which prevails between the Federal
Government and the States and it is now possible at this stage to
define how that relationship will develop, but it will be one that
will develop in a spirit of co-operation and partnership and not
one of direction autocratically being decided by the Federal
Mr. Fraser, you said earlier in answer to a question on the
Cabinet that there were one or two precedent which Mr. Whitlam
had set and you are prepared to follow, are you referring to
Mr. Whitlama's practice of setting up an inner Cabinet of one or
two and setting aside the actual portfolios of your own Cabinet?

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Luncheon" 33.
Almost certainly not. The Only precedent that I was referring
to, and my memory might be faulIty and somebody here can correct
me if it was, was that he did not announce the names of his
Ministers or anything of that kind, and I think also the actual.
structure of that Government until after the election day, and
that was the precedent that I was going to follow. That questioni
of there are fifteen Ministers now. I think the question of
the two man junket was one of the worst disasters that Australia
has ever seen.
After Saturday, will you be officially leading a Federal
Government, a Commonwealth Government or an Australian Government
and can we look forward to seeing your po-rtrait replacing Mr.
Whitlam's on the walls of government offices? If not, whose
portrait will appear?
I'm afraid, whether it is a joy or not, will depend on the
person's political affiliations. Anyway, for those who might
regard it as a joy, I am going to deny it to them. My photograph
will not appear in Commonwealth, Australian or Federal Government
offices, whichever you like to use, nor will Mr. Whitlams. I
would not want people to read some wrong implications into what
I am going to say because I do believe Australia needs a national
song that captures the minds and hearts of all Australians. But
the appropriate portrait in such places is the portrait of the

8/ 12/ 75 " Press Club Liuncheon" 34.
LAURIE OAIBS: I1elbourne Sun.
You said earlier -that specif ic details of your arb.-infJlation
policy had been gien all around the country during this campaign.
A few people seem not to have got the message. Peter Sheehan of
the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic Research said the other
day that if you implemented your policies, inflation would soar to
205. Ken Davidson, one of Australia's most respected economic
writers has said that the only way you can manage the economy properly
is to chasten your promises, and Alan Wood w. ho writes most of the
Sydney Morning Herald's economic leaders, has said that your policy
is a politician's dream but an economic impossibility. Si r, for the
benefit of those three people who have not got. the message and most of
the journalists who have also been covering this campaign, have also
seemed to hiave missed it, will you again repeat for us the specific
details of your anti-inflation policy?
The extent to which we are prepared to go and the details to which I
am prepared to go have already been covered in answers to questions
today and the policy speech is available. There is going to be
rigorous planning to see that there are economies, that extravagances
are cut out and in a budget as large as the Commonwealth budget is,
that can be quite a significant sum. And we start plann ing from
Sunday for the budget next year and the incentives, encouragement to
industry which is essential if there is going to be investment, and if
there are going to be jobs is again something that gets introduced at
a rate which is compatible with the overall objective of restraining
inflation and at the same time will be measured by the rate at which
we can reign in the extravagance of the Labor Government. You kniow,
its a little bit like this is maybe a nasty comment but the question

FI-/ 2
V1* " Press Club Lunchecn,'
was really very much like the ABC intor-.-i.; the _ 3C on the
current political climate and that so: yetz oCuT, or journalists
interviewing journalists. If I could cr r. J: e one comment which I
saw in I am not quite sure which of th c cnomic professionals used
this comment and I would not want to al-n the two who did not use
it really to say that the Wag-a by-cloec-on has got some relevance
to our economic policy is sheer and ahaolute nonsense.
Mr. Fraser, we regret that we have to cloze. You have fulfilled
your obligations to answer over time the questions, as your speech
went slightly over time. It is in the club's interests that we
be impartial and accord equal tiie to all our speakers, particularly
in the political forum and on behalf of our members and their guests,
I want to thankJc you for speaking to us today, and to ask them to show
their appreciation in the usual manner.
8/ 12/ 75

Transcript 3999