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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 8759


Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 08/12/1992

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 8759

TL: 8. Dec. 92 13: 58 No. 027 P. 01/.-
J: whcn will you begin articulating a fifth term agenda?
PM: Lct's call it a second term agenda, and it will be in the appropriate part of the
cycle in the run-up to the next election.
J: Do you believe this-poll that gives you a seven point lead over the
PM; There has been a confirmation of the polling of recent months in the various
polls so, I think, three or four polls are all within range of one another and,
of course, it will remain to he scen wvhether this month the other polls
corroborate what the Newspoll is saying.
J: So when is the election Prime Minister?
PM: I've said that I think the public should get value from the Parliaments and
they shouldn't bc truncated and we haven't. The Government, this
Parliament, is three years old in March next year so, as I said, any time after
Christmas, in the new year, is basically the Parliaments end.
J: Would you prefer like Bob Hogg to go after the Western Australian poll?
PM: I don't discuss the Labor Party's tactics~ in public. I will keep all flexibility
for us against the Liberals.
J: Peter Reith is blaming the industrial disruption in Victoria for the Liberal's
slump. Do you think that is what has caused you to go up in the polls?

T8EL.: D ec. 92 13: 58 No. 02? P. 02/ 0-
PM: No, we've been going up steadily in thc second half of the year and I think it
is because of thc Government's policies of inclusion. The Governmenit is
seeking to have a community perspective and an emphasis on community
values where thc Liberal Party emphasis is on individual values. If you
support thc wealthy, they say the wealthy will drag the rest of us along. I
think the public don't believe that, One hundred and sixty million
Americans have just voted against that, they voted for community values
and if you look at the progress wc have made this year and on a whole range
of issues in education, in transportation, in the environment, in industry,
whcrcver you see it and, of course, need I say in s ' ocial policy wherever
you see thesc things, I think the public believe that this is the way to
proce, and they don't believe that lifting tax and cutting wages as Dr
Hewson wants to do is going to help anybody but those who don't need help,
that's the welfare. God help us when the dominant national values of
Australia have to be focussed on the benefits to the wealthy.
J: Prime Minister, is the west Labor's Achilles heel and what can you do about
PM: That is believed, I don't know whether it is true. The polls, though, are not
as strong for us here as they have been. I think the only thing to do about it
is try and articulate our policies as often as I can, as I've been doing today
on radio and on television. There is obviously some sort of feeling in the
West Australian media which is at odds with that which is carried in the east
and it is making a difference here of some kind. But how large, time will
J. Mr Keating, you admitted that the Labor States were worried about the
second part of your industrial relations legislation relying on the external
affairs power. Are you willing to make any changes as a result of the
PM: Worry does not imply legitimacy or legitimate worry. Legitimacy is if
Australia has ratified a sct of conventions which the States agreed to,
including the Labor statcs. With that ratification, why are they worried
when we may legislate to impose the conditions, the international minima
which those ratifications establish? I think it is a concern about something
that they don't quite know all about and we intend to try and overcome that
by consulting with them before we bring the Bills in.

TEL: 8. Dec. 92 13: 5tb NO. ue( r
J; Prime Minister following on your theme about the politics of inclusion, wil
you be planning to develop policies along the lines of a more managed
economic intervention for next year?
PM: That is too leading a question because it begs an economic reply and I don't
think wc have the time or thc inclination to provide it right here.
J: Just briefly Graham Richardson referred late last week to the idea of using
the tax systemn to help our export industries, would you favour that?
PM: Look, the Government has established for the first time in Australia a true
market economy. It may bc ironic, but it has takcn a Labor Government to
establish a markct economy. But I've always said it has done it with a Labor
heart, and it's done it looking at industries and the needs of industrics in
particular sectors, and that's why our industry policy and the design of our
policy be it in tariff changes or tariff reforms or in other areas of policy
have been ones which I think truly take into account the interest of
Australians. And the potential of industries in areas, say
telecommunications, ship building, pharmiaccutical, are all what one has
termed intervenitionist policies. But we will never turn our back upon what
is essentially a market structure.
J: Prime Ministcr, back to the polls for a second. Do these polls imply that
Australians accept an eleven per cent unemployment figure?
PM: No), I don't think that at all and nor they should, but I think that they believe
that the Government wants to get back to what it does best and that is
crcating jobs as wc showed throughout nearly a decade of the ' 80s. We've
kept most of the employment of the ' 80s and we want to go back to what
we're doing best. I think the public think we are trying to do that, The ' One
Nation' package was about stimulating the economy and pushing it back
into growth; last week's national accounts indicate quite strongly that a
government stimulus is working, is the principal reason why the economy is
recovering and growing as it is, and I think the public take comfort from
that. I think they also take comfort from the policies of inclusion, that we
all go along together and we don't develop an underclass, wve don't let the
unemployed look after themselves without unemployment benefits, we pull
those who are not well off, or need help, along with the rest of us; and we
are not focussing, as the Liberal Party is, upon thc wealthy, saying if they
are well looked after, in their slipstream the rest of us can find some
nourishment. I think that that sort of sterile stuff, which we've seen come in
cycles right throughout the century, is now at this point rejected by nearly

all western governments and certainly by this government. 1 think the
public agree with that.
J: With all the polls moving strongly in thc same direction, do you think
people now have made a final decision about John Hewson?
PM: I don't know, there is only onc poll that matters in the end, I've never been
too worried about opinion polls though I admit I prefer to be in front than
behind. But what have the Liberals got to offer? Thcy say, " if we tax your
food, your clothing and your services, we will put the proceeds off to
abolishing pay roll tax and cutting petrol," and we arc supposed to be
naively bclicving that the cutting of payroll tax and the reduction in petrol
excise will change Australia. That all of a sudden will spring a new
reinvigorated, modern economy from doing those things, cutting petrol
prices and cutting payroll tax. Well of course it is nonsense and I think the
public realises basically the same sterile old stuff from the same tired old
group. That is, thcy start on this premise how can we push more national
income into the wealthy? And the current trick is a consumption tax, a
goods and services tax. Now that's what Dr Hewson stands for and as well
as that he stands for cutting peoples wages, by pushing eight million
Australians onto individual employment contracts and I think the public is
saying, this is dangerous, this is not good, it is not wise, it is not inclusive, it
says nothing about the sense of community, it is partisan and it is dangerous,
and I don't think they like it.
ENDS TEL.: D ec. 92 13: 58 No. 027 P. 04/ 04

Transcript 8759