PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 4772


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: 11/08/1978

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 4772

Question: We are very interested to know your reaction to
Mr. Dunstan's comments.
Prime Minister: I've got no comments about that at all.
It's a Victorian Government matter so far as I am concerned.
I've got no comment about that.
Question: But his comments were pretty personal about you.
1to say
Prime Minister: That doesn't mean/ I would have to reciprocate.
No. I've got no comment, it'-s a Victorian Government matter.
I would like to say that one report-. I saw in this morning's
newspaper is totally false.
Question: You didn't get in touch with Mr. Hamer?
Prime Minister; Mr. Hamer had a phone call booked to me and
told me what action he had taken at lunchtime on the day.
That's all.
Question: And you did not move to have Mr. Dunstan sacked?
Prime Minister Good heavens no. I said that's a Victorian
Government matter and Mr. Hamer told me he'd made his decision
and so far as I was concerned that was it. But I haven't put
a view to Mr. Hamer and I haven't sought to.
Question: Do you have any objection to Mr. Dunstan's reference
to your handling of the economy?
Prime Minister; Well, I just believe Mr. Dunstan is wrong.
T'he economy is starting to improve significantly, inflation is
c-oming down. It is going to come down further. Interest
rates are starting to come down. The shading of the last
Commonwealth Loan was still marginally less than the loan before
and having this flow through into, as it ultimately will,
to home loans for home purchases, to the ordinary bank overdrafts
for individuals all around the country. At the last election
I used the example; you get a 2% reduction in interest rates
for the average home buyer and that saves a young couple ten
dollars a week. Now, that was stated as an objective. It's
still the kind of objective we are after and having got that
we would want to go further.
Question: This is what Mr. Dunstan says he was after really;
he wanted help for the building industry which he says is in
a very serious situation in Victoria.
Prime Minister; I think Victoria may be starting to go through
some of the problems that other states have experienced at
an earlier time. I think you know that there had been a large
surplus stock of houses in a number of states that built just
couldn't be sold and that's been a drag on the market for I think
much longer than many people thought. But in the we had to
come to the view that there was too much reliance in total terms / 2

Prime Minister: ( cont)
on the Federal Budget for housing and therefore we
wanted matching arrangements because we had been advised
that the States were -asking for funds and that they
were going to cut their own Budget allocations to housing
and you know our coffers aren't inexhaustible and everyone
knows that and so therefore we wanted an arrangement that
would make sure that the States still put up their cash for
housing and therefore a base grant from the Commonwealth
together with additional sums on a matching basis which was
estimated against the sort of historical performance of
the States. In addition to that, the States have very large
sums available through re-cycling of the funds through the
housing you know, the sales of older houses and the States
can influence the extent to which those funds are available
because they can influence the extent to which houses are
sold in any one year.
Question: You are saying the States should be doing more
in this direction?
Prime Minister; Without me saying that, at the time of
the last Premier's Conference on the estimates given us by
the States, the sums available for re-investment in housing,
welfare housing, through the sale of houses, through re-cycling
of the funds, is going to be significantly greater this year
than last year and taken overall, the direct grants, the matching
grants, the re-cycled funds, on the information available to
the Commonwealth, Australia as a whole ought to be maintaining
a program at least as large as last year and depending upon
the rate of inflation, maybe a bit better than that.
Question: Finally, Prime Minister, there was a reference in
Mr. Dunstan's outburst about your old school do you object
to that?
Prime Minister; I thought it was a good old school there are,
a lot of old schools. I've been in politics a long while...
Question: A Melbourne Grammar/ doesn't make the sort of comments
that Mr. Dunstan made?
Prime Minister: No, it's not a question of that. I think
a Melbourne High School kid mightn't make those sorts of comments
either and over the years there have been many personal attacks
on myself of different kinds. I always try not to reply in
that vein. 000---

Transcript 4772