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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5866


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: 18/07/1982

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 5866

EMBARGO: 5.00 pm
In the last two weeks, the Labor Party has shown plainly that it
lacks the stability which Australia wants, and the policies
which Australia needs. our job is to face squarely the economic
difficulties the world is experiencing and which are now
hitting Australia hard.
The Government's policies are right for Australia's circumstance! s.
The Australian community wants the Government to tackle economic
problems realistically. our policies have helped cus hion the
impact of the world economic downturn on Australia. What
Australia needs above all is a willingness to work together
at all levels, for it is by working together, by making
the most of our advantages, and by encouraging the initiative
of Australians, that we will achieve our economic goals.
The policies which Labor has adopted would take Australia
down the wrong road entirely. At a time of real difficulty for
the mining industry, the Labor Party would inflict a resources
tax. Surely we want to encourage investment in the mining
industry, so that Australia will be in a position to take
advantage of any upturn in the world economy.
Labor's extra resource tax can only discourage mining investment,
especially when miners generally are not making substantial
profits. It is naive to think the new tax resource would
replace state taxes, it would be additional because the
state premiers would not be willing to give up their taxes
to the Commonwealth.
Or take Labcr's uranium policy, they want to shut the industry
down. It is all very well for people in a country like Australia
rich in natural resources, with no foreseeable need for
nuclear power, to talk about leaving uranium in the ground.
But there are countries which need the uranium which we can
supply to meet their energy requirements. Labor's amended
policy nowh7. ere says that existing contracts will be worked
out. Mr Hayden has said that any suggestion that Labor
has abandonEd its opposition to uranium is a " travesty of the
facts". In seeking to close down the uranium industry, Labor
policy ignores our responsibilities to others, and denies
jobs to Australians and export income to Australia.

Take capital gains taxes. Labor wants to strengthen an existing
section of the Income Amendment Act to make it work as an
" seffective tax on realized capital gains and profits." But
we are not told what the changes would be. Senator Evans has said
he said he has a secret draft of " a rewritten Section 26( a)
which will do the job which we want to do", and we are entitled
to believe it will be a capital gains tax by stealth. At a
time when most people think the burden of personal income tax
is too high, Labor is also committed to reducing the incidence
of indirect taxes, which could only mean higher income taxes under
Labor. By favouring increased progressivity of the personal
income tax supply, Labor wants to push the higher tax rates still
higher. That would reduce incentive, it would reduce productivity,
and increase the anti-social tendency towards tax avoidance.
The Labor Party has declared its socialist commitment to
redistributing income in Australia but its factions disagree
profoundly on the means. Probate tax is one means favoured by
by Mr Cain in Victoria. Mr Cain was proclaiming the virtues
of probate for Victoria at the time when Mr Wran was boasting
of abolishing it in NSW. Mr Cain's probate tax at 39 in
the dollar will be a cruel expropriation from hundreds of
people who had worked hard to secure their own, and their
children's future. The limit of $ 200,000 is not high enough to
protect many ordinary people with normal, suburban homes, people
with small businesses, and those with a home and superannuation.
People who want to start a business will leave Victoria. The
value of houses will fall. There will be more and more empty
houses as people who are retiring leave for other states.
There will be less work in the building industry. There will
be fewer jobs. Mr Cain's probate will damage Victoria's economy
by turning away investment, and cause an exodus of Victorians.
The substance of Labor's National Conference was summed up in
the attitudes on wage indexation. The ConferEnce firstly
voted to reject a proposal for full quarterly wage indexation
in its economic platform. By itself, that would seem like a
rejection of a dangerously inflationary wage policy. But then
two days later, in its industrial relations platform. the
Conference made a commitment to work towards automatic full
quarterly indexation. I suppose that when Labor spokesmen
talk to business groups they give them the first version, and
when speaking to trade unions they use the second version.

Transcript 5866