ADDRESS TO FEDERAL COUNCIL - PERTH
Period of Service: 11/11/1975 to 11/03/1983
Release Date: 22/04/1979
Release Type: Speech
Transcript ID: 5027
Document: Original Transcript (PDF 550.15 KB)
EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY
PRIME MDIISTER T
FOR MEDIA 22 APRIL 1979
ADDRESS TO FEDERAL COUNCIL PERTH
Australia is moving ahead again. Recovery is underway.
billion of investment projects are ready to go, or are in their
final feasibility stages around Australia.
Private investment grew by 24 percent in 1978. Investment in
mining grew by 56 percent and the mining industry expects
an increase of 32 percent in 1979.
There is a major surge in investment in aluminium, projects:
in New South Wales the $ 500 million Alurnax aluminium smelter,
in Victoria the $ 350 million Alcoa smelter, here in Western
Australia the $ 200 million Alcoa aluiiui refinery at Wagerup;
and in Queensland the $ 540 million Comalco aluminium smelter
at Galdstone. As well, Alcan has announced that it will expand
its smelter at Kurri Kurri. All this is the best part of a
$ 2,000 million investment expansion in this single area. We
have the power, the bauxite, the political stability and the
economic policies that adds up to an immense aluminium. industry
Oil exploration is taking off. Between 83 and 143 exploration
wells will be drilled this year. Even the lower end of this
scale would be the best result for seven years. The North West
Shelf project is being proved up by a $ 50 million feasibility
study. This has the potential to be Australia's greatest
single resource development. Exploration is going ahead in
the Exmouth Plateau, one of the most intensive deep water
undertakings anywhere in the world, in an area often regarded
as offering our best chance of a further major oil discovery.
Resource projects are only part of the story. Last year
inflation came down to less than 8 percent, the lowest annual
figure since 1972. Our renewed competitiveness is the catalyst
for a revival of manufacturing investment. In 1978 manufacturing
investment increased by 21 percent. Since the beginning of
this year ICI has announced a $ 500 million petrochemical plant
in Victoria. GMH will go ahead with a $ 210 million enqine
complex in Victoria. / 2
it is 11tOL Just big L . ku. U~ mhal1 zin M,-i1um-SiY(-d
firpm& are njay. ing their part in thc new invostment projecbs
ill Auh; tralia. One We,, tern Auintrzlail compzzny has ordrr to
sell. fishing trawlers to Burmia, atgainst corptitI o f rOT11
Xo.-tca Singaipo( v and Taiwant. Who says Australiain workmen
C% 1Di11O'; o it.) ' ho firm han; writtcn f. 0 rnt inf plaiin teXrmIs
'-ying that it hmi bccri able to ytj teesl~ mas
of our reduccd i-Ate of inflation, our stable work forco, and
tLhc C'overrnmont smbstantial. export imitiative! and export
. EportN are up dramat-lually. In the three months to the enld
of March, our exportsi, seasonally adjusted, rose by 9 percent.
Rural industries are having their bost seinson for many yoarz.
' rism vinLue of the 1978-79 wheat crop will be m-tore than douñ ble
that. for 1977-78.
The wool, industry is doing imuch better. Beef, of course$ is
having anl excellent yeart with ris~ nrl exports to otir major
111ar~ ets Australlan indo~ stry is ba. sier than it lia been for
1 Iong while, and it is startJnqj to cmploy more people.
Civillan wage and salary earlier employment, secisoinally adjusted,
has risen for cach of the Last s,, ven months, fo~ r the first titne
ior five years. leal economic growth in 1978-79 should
comfortably exceeLd the Dudqef-foreca-st of " somoithincj over
four percent". An enormous aitnuunt has been achieved. Blisinesses
ara selling more at hiordie and abroad. Profits have shown real
lmproimitnt and more Job opporLunitiLs aro openling tip
lox Australians. Blconolnia rccovery is With us.
Confidonce is miuch stroncler than it bas been for a very long
timp. TLhis revival is not due to luck, not caxised by accident.*
This recovery has conie bacause wc have' taken the nccusary
dc~ csio~;. This. recovery liar come beccause woe have worked
to get. tho economic basics ritjht. This recovery han. come
becau-ni we reinced In Govornment expenditurea, rcducea the
4oficit and curtailed the Irovwth in thel Public Service.
Coftuonwealth P'ublic Servants . gubject to staff ceilings are
now 56,000 lcso than they would have been had Labor's0
bureaucratic spl. urge continued. This rocovery has comec bacamae
our lower tnxes give incentive to all Ai~ atraliafl5. Thim
recovery has come because incontives for out industries, such
as the investmenlt allowance and ex~ port Inc~ entives, have
opened opportunities for Auutralian firnms. This recovery
has come because the Goverymient's trade offensivo over the l. ast
thrcc years has glven us better access to the Japan and
' termark~ ets. I believe theve results will be secured and
sfeyunrdcd when the xrults of the Multil,. ateral Trade
' Negotiationls are finally wil'olded.
We all know none of thi.--could have happened under Labor.
Labor stopped Australia doad in its track$. Our' policies have
qJuite a long way towards4 r( apairing Lahnr's damagn LuvJ recovery is wqith us.
' hAt. dcxs rnot rrL'ar to say thilt the Governmnclt 044l relax. ] Y its
ver. y nature,. Government will be alw~ ays faced with problems.
Itis the iw'y Iln which Goveriments respond to those problemns
that distinguish-good qoveryiment.
With thle r(! coverY AlOv'ng forWird 8sOffe of the problems that
we face arv different from thosec enuountered over--the lost
throc, years, whon the econnomy wais slowl4y and wi1th Pain
aidjustinq itno-f so that it Could move into the-recovery staqce.
Som Of f-hc p: roblvitis octurin today ( ire the resul L of
rec-ovory St; 1, thi czi: e
jqe I arAcu;~ ; dtxoainl ~ 9i -iiin. ot, Tnhi~ uta. h sboemt'tleer xe.. lL. 11T1mIih. coio '. nr ecuosvvo* aCnricyrc risyo; t aq. ot . Wohdea rnfn. aoi wclitst . ottoh) arit
Thei better returns for becf and wheat, which ax revivini
)-ni-cl parts of rural ALustraliai, are ( 4ood inews for fanrtcrs,
for )-oral Cowdiullities, for Cfdus-trics, SLupplyi) nci the fariling F
community, and lor our balance of paymrents, 8 13tt thn increase
in bnof priJcos which wa~ s essential for an i-ndustiy which had
booji, dL-pro~ uscd for so long Neis obvious consequences for
heb C. P. 1. S~ rilarly, the finanoing of paymlenits for tile biunpcr c
wheat harvest: Wis an affect on the money supply.
Tho rise in oil priccs hzd to happen. Australia had to have
ai raitiorial enterqy policy. We hand to make sure that people inake
1p. rop: ar economic Judgements B! hOut. tho Rind of enerc) gy they. use.
Nciq oil discovnracs were estentia1. As a re, uilt ( if our policies
it is estimated by 3,983" that about 30 percentp-of Australia's
(: rUdc oil prodiLti-On W111 be derived from oil fields which have
bucorne viable as a o~ f euo~ ucr oil and gas policies.
The only way to achOieve these objectives was by Lpricing( oil
united Statos has announced i. t is mnovi. ng to the same policy.
But õ -obviously higher oil prices have cnseqeuc--i for tbLe C. p. i.
MarkedJ increases have occurred on world metal markets,
particularly for alum,, inium, Coppecr, lead, zinc and rutile.
lJiqb prices have bcen sustained for tin, gold and tun~ gsten.
Propects for nickel are botter than they have been for many
0 ybea~ laarns. c e Tofh isp aiys rigno'so d anndew sth ufo inttheren antaitoionnal. stIrt enbgetnhe foitfs ththee
Australiani dotiai. Stut at the same*. time it adl to probleMFs ill
maintaining restraint over the growth of the money supply.
' rhe Australian money wopply is noi-gcoidng ' faster than v
projected. This is partly bec-ause of grezter activity, higher
wheat; payments and our better export receipts. but-the
Governinent has bceen concerned about the rate of growth in the
money stzpjly. We have taken action to moclify this growth.
Trhe Government has determined that up to ai further $ 300 million
of commercial hilln -1-hould be, 9sold by thu Augtrnlian Whoint Boii;: d
to privaLe hodr-This is in addition to thle
$ 155 million already financed in this way. The trading banks
statutory reserve deposit ratio has boon increased to
percent to help, goak op exeieliquidity in the
The Cove Zranent liar, also announced . icreases in the rates
applying to now i~ aUas of Treasury flotewcb, The Co~ mOniwialt-h
has obitained agreement. in principle to z, " tap and tender"
syattm which will enable interest11 ra~ tes on Commnrwealth
Becuritles to b4-tailored mre Kca~ ily to m:! rket t6nditions,
The Roeerve B~ ank has been aseked to soll Commonwealth bonds
and Tr6Aur'j notes ouat ol it; r portfolio In a way that is
consisteat with the proposvd new arrangements. The tap and
tender da-Cision Will inorease ths fleserve Drar s ability
to keep in touch with market forces, whincoh have ral'sed yields
on Governiftent securities sgnificantly over risc-; 3ft weeks.
OnG of the false assuimptionB current nMongst peOPle USed to
interest rates for new . tssues of Coftmnonwalth bonds being
announced three or four tiLmes, a year is that iterest rate policy
is reflected solely in newj issuo rates. In -" act people ought
to look at the rates the Rleserve Bank uvs in its ownl
market operat~ op. Hlad they done thlis over racent weeks, they
would have seen that the D3ank has been mioving or. interestC
rates, and has been trading at rates signlificantly higher than
those prevailing : 3ix months ago, The Goverroe'nt has m~ ade it
plain that it lo dezermined to maintain an~ elfectivc maonetary
stance, and the Treasurer will ba makilig a statemnnt on
monetary policy later today.
Greater aotlvity in Australia,, hi-gher bee,, f and oJi. 1 priceas
and wage clacisions that were too lenient have lea to a pausef
in tha downwarde thrust in the C. P. I. Sinc; A Noveaber there
has also bmen a rise in inflation in a nww. ber of overaeas
countries. In the two mornths to February 1979 cons~ ver prices
ros in the U. S. A by 2.1 percent, jn tha U. K. by 2.3 parcent, I.
and in Germany by 1.7 percent. Theze rises were all wall above
the rises in the samre two months of 1978. Many econoMists
predict tha~ t in 1979 inflAtion will riae in most Comm~ onI
Market aountries. One eztirnate is for inflation rates ol
12 percent for tha United Kingdom~, 11 percent for France, and
percent for Italy.
Because there are in-flationary pressures both overseas and in
countries) we must rainforca the figJht agaitist inflation.
We must consolidate the gains wo have made, We must not blow
the recovery. Australia could blow recovery by irresponsible
m~ onetary and f iscal policies. This will not happen. Australia
could also blow t1-he recovery by Irreoponaible wage demands,
by a rash of strikes and dispu1tes. The Gov*. rrument Is
determined to use all its powers to prey-ant this.
with any rocovery there is the danger of the resurgence of
inflation especially when wage claims are pressed too hard
and especially if mapnufacterers believa that they can take
advantage of a better trading position to put ' up their prices
unreasonably. The Government will be vigilant on both front8.
we will sup yort the PJTr and the Arbitration Commission. The
Prices Just ication Tribunal is coirrently exanImning the food
proces2sing industry. mir. Fife has stated that the PJT, under
its revised Act, will inguire into industries whoze prices have
a m~ ajor impaot on the Consumer Price Index, or which have a
aign ficant impact upon-thle level of prices in other industries.
Zxo; Dsalv: wage dinad5-are a sexcto%) threat to Att. tralia's
f vtuxo.. Tihay could abort rejotcy, The * great: -iajority of
wage earnerm understand this. Thzey Y-now -that excesIoive waga
demnds lead to more inflation and would undermin-e* the
competitive base we have built kup over the last thrc-e years
and de-4 oy Jobr, for AustrzlionS. We have no intention of
allowing' Chat to happen.
But the problen. not just one of wage claims. A numbor of
unionz unc strikes, bans, go-slows and disrt~ ptions with
total irresponsibility and total disregard for other psople.
These ac-t-ions seem derpigned to sabotaige the recovery. The
political philonophy of some trade union leaders thrives on
recession, stagnation, disruption and instability in Australia.
Strikes, and bans and Ind~ ustrial diiSruptiOn harl the striker
and his firm. TLhey haym the comtnunity.
There have been too many disruptions in recent wieeks. None of
these aotions was necessary. They were totally disruptive,
Thsey were solf inb because they disregar-ded the hurt done to
othier people. But it is not only selfish so often strikes~
are fruitlass anid stupid. OnG of the mio~ t pointless things about
so many industrial disputes is that people go out strike and
do not realise how much thany are htirting theslveq. IfC people,
before going on strike, did their su-ins th ey would see that the
sensible~ thing to do ia to let the issue go to the Arbitration
Comm~ icion. The strik~ ers themselvo: 3 lose pay a loss they
maay not be able to recover for years even if they oucceed in
forcing their demands through.
Do the union leaders lose their wages? So often the answer is
no. Nobody wine in strikes and it is precisely because nobody
winz that we have an arbitration systemn the impartial umpire
to enable us to resolve disputes withouit harming anyone. We
need to give that umpire a fair go. This Government will not*
sit back and see this nation hecld to ransomn by irresp1, onsible
if people go on citrike, put on bans and limitationsr instead of
going to the Arbitration Cormnisiofl'-in the area of Govern~ ant
employment we are already rigorously applying the " no work
as directed, no pay" princple, -and wher-e there is no work for
other people as a result of a strive we are already applying
stand down provisions. The Governmnt's view is that the
Cl~-_ aiission 5h'ould not prooeed to hear a unionL's wage c3. ainm
while di-rect industrial action is continuing, In the case of
two recanic industrial disputes thte pabnt ino~ ugtr. st. rike and the
Awitralin ' Post. dis-, itxn once thia view wsas made knownthe unionisttit
went back to work and said that they wpiuld. let the
A-rbit&-ation Cozrmis~ ie'n decide. .16
' We re-terato our eipectation that emjplay will supro a
policy of waige restraint and noL ( five in tCo iindus. rlal
blac~ Qmail. IKE comnpanies do give in to pressure 0. tsida
the arbitration zyitemr, theyjwiJ be in~ viting a. rt ~ ces
Justification Tribunal inquiry into their priding policies,
If esnettial So~ pplies for other iruttez are held up,
runni64. the risk of fuy~ her staiid doqns, those inclotries
will be allowed to import under by-law. We have
streng-16haned the cause of renponsible uniortisin. We bave
establised the Industria1 tPelations flmrieau, zertpsa
ballo'k-s for umniol! elootions, annual. reports to union memers
and protection of conaciontiouq objectos ahv
the Trade Practices A~ ct and Section 451) has been
effective agino second-ary bDYCOttS.
industrial di -pt. iteg are ztili too hiqh but thers lz--r baen a
major improvaeet conpared with the Labor years. In 19714
there wo~ re 6.3 million working days lost, th-rough disputes
Wvsting $ 128 million in wagez; in 1978, 2.1 million workinq
days lost through disputes, coating $ 7 mniJ. Xior in lost wages.
The arbitration syatem in the umpire. We have all got to back
tile uMpixe. Most Australian workirng ln_ and wciiMen art in
trade unions. They have a rria'or role to play in haep~ nq the
recovery going by manking their voice heard in their union. s,
by masking clear thnir view that t41he arbitrati~ on system Maut
be allowed to work without threats, w" Uthout bans and
Given the problemx that confleonted Australia when we tooloffice
it was obvious that getting the economy right was going
to be a major task for the Governm~ ent. It iS oloAr that we have
had a sigrtific. cint succes; s in this area, but our concern with
economic matters has not becri at the exponse o~ e other Liberal
goals. We have nioved alongJ the path of enlightened and
liberal reform ; yhich is central to our idantity as a
Liberal~ Gojve = ent. We have pravidcd nflective help for th~ sa
in need while encouraging self-eliaiC. wa have ftrodluced
the family allowance, one of theIl most . gnificaflt social
welfare roforn, 5ince Federation. We have -reformad the
outdated means test for old agze pensions and extende~ d the
supporting parents benefit for sole fathers. A neW deal
the hanaicapped has baen inttroducedl. We have acted to protect
the rights of individuals agalost large a~ d distant bureaucraolas4
Wa have appointd the Obudsmart. The Adxinstrative Appealz
Tribnnl as baen at: 4blishad. we have made a numbtr
of refor~ s to strengthexi the role and effect~ vellaas of the
Parliament. The Calbally Report has achieved a ' new era for
ou~ r ethnic cormunitics. We are Maintainingq the proud Liberal
tradition whioh throughout Astralia's hivtory has led the
way in social re-form. V a */ 7
S. 4 -7-
The Liberal Party is uniquely situated to lead Australia
into the eighties. Our policies are directed towards
people, towards the needs and aspirations of all Australians.
We have a commitment to sound economic management., and
forward-looking policies. We have a record of economic
achievement. We are a Government of reform in social
welfar&, in law, and ingovernment. We are committed to
individual freedom, to working for a caring and tolerant
society. Australia is a great country with vast resources
and a great people. With a Liberal Government, we can
realise Australia's enormous potential. With a Liberal
Government, Australia can go into the eighties with confidence.