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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5143


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: 16/09/1979

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 5143

Question It is a wonderful reaction ( inaudible)
the Liberal Party as a whole. I would like to congratulate
the South Australian Liberals for a tremendous victory.
It has been a hard-fought campaign. The main issue has come
through and the question I think is " what is the future for
South Australia". Over the last few weeks people have come
to understand that Labor policies have held the State back;
less investment less development, less jobs, than would
have been the case under other policies. It's been held
back compared to other parts of Australia.
I think South Australians have shown that they just don't
want those negative policies anymore.
Question The State Government did try to argue, or to campaign on
Federal issues.
Prime Minister
I think that is one of the Labor Party's gross miscalculations.
They would the Federal Budget was going to be an unpopular one.
Well it has been well received as a Budget that is appropriate
and fair and reasonable. It was a-major part of the Corcoran-Hayden
campaign, that a -vote for Labor in South Australia was a
vote against Fraser and the Federal Government. I always
maintained, and. I still maintain, that State elections are
basically fought on State issues and I do that whichever way
the result comes out. But to the extent that people in South
Australia might have been affected by that Labor Party campaign,
it was quite obviously a repudiation of that general Labor
Party approach. To the extent that the Labor Party did involve
Federal policies in this campaign, the result is-in effect
effect an endorsement of Federal policy.
Question Were you surprised by the size of the swing to the Liberals
away from the Government.
Prime Minister
I don't think really surprised. If you had asked me six weeks
ago I would have thought it was a difficult result to achieve,
but over the last three or four weeks many things have changed.
I think that South Australians had come to focus on the issues
in a very real way, as people often do in the run-up to an
election. It is quite different from an ordinary poll when
people aren't focussing on an election and what the real
consequences are. In this campai gn, their attention was very
sharply drawn to the fact that existing policies in South Australia

Prime Minister ( continued)
were holding that State back compared to other parts of the
Commonwealth. You not only had the Liberal Party saying that,
all the major employer groups in South Australia had made up
their minds that if there was going to be any future for their
own industries, and trading commerce, and if they were going
to have any capacity to provide more employment, something
had to be done. So they came out and started telling the
( inaudible).
Question What influence did the ACTU's vote on uranium have onthe
election. Prime Minister
You know Mr. Hawke's words an exercise in futility in terms
of the decision. But it certainly served to emphasise the
general Labor Party approach which is anti -development. Roxby Dow ns
it can be one of the greatest mines in the world being held
back because of the Labor Party decision to leave uranium in
the ground. Now that sort of thing was emphasised by the
ACTU debate and to an extent therefore it would have helped the
L~ iberal Party.
Question I think it is the first time that Australian people have voted
on any issue connected with uranium. Do you feel that this is
a reflection of the general electorate feeling towards mining?
Prime Minister
I suppose in the last Federal Election uranium mining was in part
an issue. It wasn't all that much to the fore. But overwhelmingly
I think that people are sensible about energy policies. They know
uranium is an important energy source, especially for many
countries overseas that don't have supplies of coal, don't have
supplies of oil.-Many countries are becoming increasingly
dependent upon uranium for peaceful purposes. I-think Australians,
South Australians, recognise that we've got a role to play.
We've got a commodity for export. It can provide jobs for
Australians. It is undertaken under the strictest safeguards and
they want us all to get on with the job, I've got no doubt.
Question Have you spoken to Mr. Tonkin, and if so were you discussing
general areas of Commonwealth-State co-operation.
Prime Minister
I spoke to him before the counting started yesterday and I spoke
to him this morning just to congratulate him on the result.
I will be in South Australia tomorrow for a Pacific Cities
Conference, and we are going to try to meet after that for
a short while. 000---

Transcript 5143