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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5604


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: 14/06/1981

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 5604

The first Parliamentary session for this year ended last
Friday. We began the sitting with a great deal to do and
mwe have achieved all our objectives. It has been one of the most
siginificant and constructive legislative sessions for many
years. 118 Bills were passed during the twelve sitting weeks and
these Bills demonstrate in'the plainest terms the Government's
direction and its determination to act in the interests of
all Australians. Our legislative programme re-affirms our
vision of growth and development for Australia, a vision of
opportunity, security, prosperity stability and concern for
those in need. This legislative programme also underlines
unmistakably our commitment to strong and effective, yet
limited, Government.
The historic and visionary review of Commonwealth functions
set the overall pattern of the session's legislation based
upon Liberal principles. That review led to some 350 decisions
which were aimed at elimihating duplication between Commonwealth
and state governments, passing to private enterprise activities4
which it can handle better than Government, and rationalisingA
the functions which properly belong to the Commonwealth.
Limited Government does not signify mean or ungenerous government.
What it does is establish the conditions under-which there
can be increased opportunities for all and better care for those
in need. It must not be forgotton that while the review will
lead to some expenditure cuts, it does not lead to any reduction
in income security arrangements.
The Government's new health policy again expresses our philosophy.
It provides incentives to insurance and encourages people to
look after themselves. But at the same time our health policy
looks after those * in need, afid indeed it provides for free
health care for about 3 million people. And, it eliminates
the situation where the health costs of the well-to-do
were entirely borne by taxpayers and means that one bureaucracy,,
rather than two, will be involved in running each state's
public hospitals. / 2

A further major achievement in this session has been the new
financial arrangement between the Commonwealth and the states.
The Commonwealth has legislated to provide a more stable basis
for'. thegrants which the states receive from the Commonwealth.
Since 1975, the Commonwealth Government has been fundamentally
concerned to curb its own expenditure, for the Government
believes that taxpayers cannot be regqiired to pay more and
nore every year. It is the Government's view that all levels
of Government must share in the task of easing the tax ' burden.
And while talking of taxes there is for the coming year a
tpaoxc kectust, whaincdh twhiel lr eblaetaev e on$ 50h0e amlitlhl iionns umroarnec e ini s teaxxppaeycetresd' ' to
reduce the Commonwealth's revenue by a further $ 500 million
in the following year. In recent years a considerable number
of gross and anti-social tax-avoidance schemes have come into
-existence, and in this session the Government was able to bring
forward a comprehensive new anti-tax avoidances provision
designed to eliminate these schemes.
On top of these measures, this session has seen legislation
for the new Human Rights Commission, and for freedom of
information. Both these pieces of legislation are important
Liberal initiatives, and the freedom of information legislation
in particular makes an important start in an area in which
Governments have talked for a long time and done nothing.
It was this Liberal Government which acted, where other
governments had only talked.
In addition there were new airline arrangements which
established an independent airfares committee, and which will
convert TAA into a public company and increase competition
in the airline industry.,
It is true that there were pressures during the session, that
is inevitable when such a volume of legislation is presented
for debate and passage through Parliament. But it has been
possible to achieve a most satisfactory result. It has been
an exceptionally productive session, which will have
far-reaching effects of tremendous benefit to all Australians.

Transcript 5604