PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5466

INTERVIEW WITH LIBBY STONE, 6WP (ABC), PERTH TALK-BACK

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: 06/10/1980

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 5466

6 OCTOBER, 1980
 

( First few minutes mised on tape).

Prime Minister,,
. wudiv ogo Into any Labor policy speech.. Mr. Wran comes--
bak-it'oeproposals saying that our promises would cost
$ i2. billioritut ha included things in that which are already' policy,
thins wichMr Hayen has just-committed to-hehsicdd
in: that things that are nowhere in the Policy speech; the increased
defnceexpeniitire which-is allowed for in the present Budget
for--example, whc ialeythr, nd included the 10 year
cptlcost. of-som e. things--though -it--was--a. one . yeart-annual
cost. It was a grossly dishonest document and I believe that the
peoleof Australia, wvhen they look at the document see if for.
themelve, ifthey did -that has not in f. act I think been
* Publ ished . in its' entirety.-will see that and know that.* I can
give you another, shorthand way of testing the accurtacy of the
castings.' Mr.-Hlayden has said that his proposals are worth
$ 20 a weeiR.. for_' every famiily. Well, you work out that with all
the-families in Australia, significantly over 2 billion, it hag to
come to a total. cost of over $ 2 billion, which is pretty much on
our mnark. -Now, I think that is his own admission, for example,
that our.-costing * of his proposals is-accurate..
Stone neo tequestios o raised in there was the one of defence,
hihconcerns most of us, in particular, in Western Australia,.
because we axe. fairly vulnerable at the mioment. -Wbat will happen
with Ian an d Iraq If America goes in and'intervenes. htwil
happen as far * as Australia is concerned?
-Prime Ilinisterare
going toq stay alo of from this problem and so has the Soviet
Union. Australia,* through its diplomatsr and now publicly,
have said that-it' is very important that other powers do not get
*... involved in this conflict;' that other powers remain alooi from
it. I have said very specifically that if one of the super-powers
gets-involved the other will almost certainly be drawn into it.
There is the proposal, which we have been discussing, for patrolling
the Straits+ of Hormuz.. because there you have 30 per cent of the
world's oil production passing through those Straits that is
: uttrlycritical + to. Japan, to Waestern. rurope. And, if the-Straits
did get blocked--you could not physically blocl' the Straits-but
if one of -the contestants sank one of the oil tankers for examXle,
well then othexs probably just would not sail until they could b--
guaranteed security. TIhat would not ignediate). y, not over
zeiat2ivcy go~ a-oiJ. stocxs at-tne 1nomeht, an-a-ir xt-COritinlac,
either, through the United Nticris or some ner ks, yoku ' golld havl-" to
a
A It---Is Primre JMinister ( continued)
get the Straits open again. The United States did have sormeproposals
on that which they -asked our views. We have. been
canvassing European countries' view, Third World countries,
India's, Japan's, other countries in the region. If that sort of
proposal were to develop or to become necessary and r think it ij
premature now in ternks of what is required if it were ever to
develop it might vell be . hat it would be better if-the
United States wer8 niot a part of it, if it were undertaken by
other powers. I say that bacause of the particular relationship
between 1raA anid the United States at the mnnoment, an~ d the
possibility that if the United States uere involved, that the
Soviet Union would feal a need to get draown in. That has beca. t-? he
background to our approach to that particular proposal, but the
United states is riot going to get involved in that war as such..
Everyone is trying to wake sure that it stops on the oneS hand, but
if it cannot be sto pped, that it is liLmited to tlha present tt~ a
countries; rran -and Iraq. Ever-lone rec~ ognises the dangers. thao,
would f low fromt -escalation..
Stone* But just suoppose Am4nerica did have to intervene eventually
because of the! oil problem. Would Australia naturally bea
Primne Minister
You cannot riake that " ort of assurnption, because. I hava said
that if there to be a need for a patrolling force and if that was
seen by Europewi powers, by Third World-powers,, by countries. such
as India, that is the first hurdle you have core to: is it seen
to be necessary by the-international coirmunity that is dependent
upon thone oil supplies. At the momnent I do not-thin-I they dosee
it as being necessary. But if it were seen to be necessary,
then who should participate? Both questions are obviously very
serious. The question "~ who should participaten would depend. on
m~ any things: the attitudesof the Luropeans, the attitudes of the
GuI6 states themselves, the attitudes of the OPFC countries. You
Just caAnot make a judgement on that nowc It is a-bit like asking
a hypothetical question: what would the United States do if the
Soviet Union started to help -Iran against Iraq. I do rot L-eUeve
they are going to do so. I thin3k that the Soviet Union has
recognisad thiat thttre are some very vital inte'. ests of WICstern.
powe, r s Lnvolved in thls HMiddle East situaltion, an~ d t'lst they bave
to tread pretty w. arily and pretty carefully becatvse while I have
alwaya believed and ido believe thtat the Soviet Union is totally
opportunist, will advance it~ s ownx cause, witinrcrease its tcva
doriination over other colantries if it geta thek sliqhUt-st chan-rce,
I also believe that they do not want, by miscalctu1ation, to PrV,_
a miajor conflict. Because the'y know that the -t-hole world is the_
loser after that. ~ Iere is a clearly recocni, evri a etr
interest and that makes the Soviet Union, I U iink, caautious. IrL
they can get away with Ainvasinrm5 and murder and r3ayhsm and worse in
otber place~ s where they think thait the W-er t-can.' it or wil-L not
do anythi P. we I L then thay wifll thney lv
t oaza cha2nge rapidly. Not& at theli 3 . kP
har~ ds-of f attitiAt. e
6WF, 6/ 10/ 80-2

j~
Caller As a life-long Liberal, I ask you if you w~ ill admit publicly
that you made a vast miscalculation in your actions -which. calls
the Marxist Mugabe to take over Rhodesia which is nowm in a state
of civil war. Unless you are prepared to do this, I cannot
vote for you.
Prime Minister
I know how som~ e people feel about that particular issue, but. you
certainly mi~ understand what has, happened in Rhodesia: what was
-happening before the last elections. Because you had a situation
there where there Bishop Nuzorewa had had elections, but where the
white minority had reserved to it powers which would give Itcontrol,
vetoing powers over the constitution and over the wiahes
of the majority. There was no way that ' const ' itution could
be sustained. There was not way it was going to be ' su'pported.
When the Lusaka. agreements were made, ad the later Lancaster House
agreements between the different parties in what was then* Rhodesi'a
and he ~ Uinidtoe~ a tht le toelections. in yhic vro~
participated., which all the international observers including
Australian observers had regarded as free and fair, and ? 4ugaba came
into power. I think earlier there were many miscalculations about
Mr. Miugabe and, his own position. He has always been against the
Soviets. He did not ask East European East-. Germans -to the
independence day celebrations because of various activities of
Cast. Germany. The assistance he gets he wants to come from
English-speaking countries, which is one way of saying he does not
want too many Russian comunists around. He has done many things
to try and make sure-that the white people stay i~ n Zimbab'Ie. Wzhen
I was there for independence day celebrations, the white people were
looking to the f uture with a sense of confidence and optim~ ism.
It wdas possible, as I did, to walk around Salisbury, and everyone.
was in the streets: very little evidence of.. anything I did not,
have any particular guard or security, Just the normal. arrangements,
and * it was all very relaxed. ow there are soine problems.
Obviously, in overcoming the difficulties, and the totality of the.
bitterness of recent years. But, the basis of Australia's approach.
an approach that ' was accepted by the Commonwealth, -an approach
that was accepted by the United Kingdom-was that you had to have
a constitution in which different peoples were treated as eguals.
You could not have a constitution which gave permanent superiority
to the white population. As a result of the settlement izt Zimbabwe
which, in spite of difficulties, is proceeding relatively wslt and
is the only thing that would give Zimbabwe and all people in
Zimbabwe hope of peace there was no prospect of peace under the
old a-rrangem4-ent in spite of all of that, what is happening gives.
us some continued hope that it is all going to work in reasonable
way and that the country will have -a good future as a united,
multinational country. TIhe attitude that Australia adopted.. that
was accepted by the Cowmonwealth and by the United Kingdom, was
right, and I am afraid that you will never get me to apologise
for the approach that Australia took in that particular contest
because it was very necessary. It was very right. It has pravented a.
much greater conflagration in Southern Africa, and between black
and white. / 4
I

61T., 6/ 10/ 80 4-
Stone It's a quarter past nine, and we would like you to be as brief
as possible so that everyone can get their questions in.
Prime m'inister
I'm sorry about thati but
I' Stone I wasn't so Vuch talking about
Prime Minister
I know the hard-core that agked me that question over here, and,
I am~ In a sense glad they did because L thinX what we did in
relation to Zimbabwe is one the beat thin-gs we have ever done-in
terms of foreign policy.
Yes. That comment was more for listeners than for you. sut i
j the cap fits, fine.
caller Good. I'm glad you said that. We have met several ttres oVer
the jetty,* but..
Prime minister
Oh, Busselton.
-Caller We have'also more important things, I think we may have lost:, buti
hope not to lose the nuclear power issue vhich look,
Ralph Nader was cu. there recently and he ( inaudible) but he'a notr
the only person that said it. The bauxits ref inery is maz th.
It is just enorm. ous quantities of electricity, auid we saw4 sclmething
of this on the weekend on talevision. Is there in fact, accord Ing
to your knowledge, a proposal to put a nuclear power Plaot With-, n
the next six years in Wosley or near Sanbuary?
Prime minister
Well, this is a State issu. e, and thic St'ate Covernrient sha
plans for the es ihetoi nuclear pcxrstation. Bu t 1:
not aware that any location has beer. determiined to this poin t
Obviously, all the anvirninantal procedures .,, euld gone throuqgh
before any decision was nade in relation $ to that. it is rot
something that I have disCu* ssed with Sir Charles Courkt for may
many months, but it is a matter that is totally % 4ithifl th,. rvic
of the State.
Oni-rcnt election talecast foQr you Government, thtezh:

6WF, 6/ 10/ 80-S
Caller ( continued)
what your Governm~ fent was doing, or planned to do for the diiabled.*
Now, what it didn't $ how-however, ' were the cripples that: your
Government has taken the pension away from: the invalid pension.
Now, if, as I anticipate you might say this
Prime Minister
Do you know any people where this has happened to?
Caller. Well, niAy I finish-the question sir?
Prine Minister
Yes, certainly.
Caller I* anticipate that you will say that -I an' going by n evs p a 0a r
reports if as you say, thi's is not so, could you explain to m~ e
why ACOSS, the Australian Council of Social Security, are taiting
legal proceedings against your Government on this very issue. I
there is no purge of invalid pensions, what is the ACOSS case al I.
about? Prime Kinister
I do not know. I would have to get a brief ing on what the ACOSS
case ise all about. There was substantial publicity, especially
in Sydney, about invalid pensions. As I had been advised by the
Minister, every case that was mentioned in the newspaper was in.
fact in the Social Security appeals system.--But to make sure thatjustice
could-be seen to be done, some weeks ago we announced
that anyone who felt that the Department of Social Security had
made a wrong decision would be given the right to appeal to the'
Administrative Appeals Tribunal; a comipletely impartial arid
separate-body. I would like you to do two things. If you know of
any case where you think an invalid of any kind has been treated
unfairly by the Department, I would like personally to know of it.
And secondly, make sure that any such person knows that they do have
a full arid total right of appeal to an impartial tri-bunal. 13ecauss
when you look at the numbers of people who have got invalid 1
pensions, it does not support the kind of contention that is behjind
the question, because the numbers getting invalid pensions have
grownm very greatly, and the funds in real terms thit we a& re
providing to assist the disabled have groun very greatl. y. I
followed the publicity in the neaspapers with so~. e very real1
conicern., because I wqould agree totally with the questioner; that
the Augtralian co-imunity ought to show a veryv real cozapassion and
concern for our people who are less well off in this co-a-unity.
Caller Ca I tit put in,' Yr hrierf. y-tJ t. ' tr .1 . i~
in eiccellent hands. How-aver, my question is: what ise thfa
doing to help young people to finance their first home?
5

6W?, 6/ 10/ 80 -6
Pr ime Minister
Well, thank you for what you have said. Mhat we a re trying.
to do is to provide funds which ' will enable people to help to.
cover the deposit. So we have a home savings grantsschemne -which--
has been developed over the last couple of years. There are-hou3e
value limits on it, and we extended, in my policy speech, the
value limits to a total of $ 70,000 for first: home buyers, and at
the same timne we have made a decision that the granrt would be
Increased from the presen~ t $ 2,000 to $ 2,500 for couples with one
child, and to $ 3,000 for couples with two or more children. So..
9'.. the purpose of the home savings gr~ ant is designed to encourage
people, or-,-to make it easier for people, to cover that. initial
deposit which is sometimes very diffiicul~ t to raise. Quite, apart.
f rom that, the policies are general ones; -to try and maintain
r a good flow of funds into housing which has happened over recent
years the funds have continued to grow from a variety of c~ ursesa,
and of course to run a sensi-ble economy so that homfe ccsts do not._..
rise too much.
Stons-
Mr. Fraser, can you state that home interest* will not. go up.
Prime Minister
No.. You cannot make predictions about home Interest rates..
I did once in a dif ferent onvirorument, amd in the 12 months after
I did, interest rates did fall very substantially, but: then
somiething happened which I had not bargained for: interest ralte a
V started to rise very rapidly in the United Kingdom and they rose*
very rapidly, and ultimately to about 20 per cent in the United
States. Against that background, it is quite plain there Ls . some
impact on Australia. So, it is market forces that inf luencea that:,
but let wre only say that under policies that would increase
inflation, . interest raesoldoup Our political opponents
have admitted that under their policies interest rates would in
fact go up.
Caller Good aor-ning Mr. F'raser. i; ' it true that in the Soviet Union
Pravda has repeatedly condemned you and applauded Kr. Hayden, the
leader of the Gang of Three? if this is true, why has this
receivad so-little attention from our Australian media?
Prifme Minister
I do riot ) cncow-.. I-ell, i t is certainly true. The Rupaj, 7,,-
n!? wsagencies do not seem to 1 ike me very much because I point* oit
that r thi~ k klheir policies are dangerous and that. they spend tao'
much mnoney on defence. ' They r in fact spending 12 per cant or
14 per cent a year on def ence, o f their -national -income, w. hich is
an enormousr a-mount. The United States is around 5 per cent or
6 per cent. There was an intervention a couple OE weehs ago f rom
ona otf the Rusaiafl new:-4agenc1. C which I thlmk was very nQ3L toea
qross interference in the domaestic political affair5 o02 th ia
medizi play down those statements LO a Cevtain Oxtentr but Chr
no dcubt that the Soviet Union would 113,, a to see inp y
aoher than m-alco2. ni Fraser as Prime minister ot Austalia.

-7
Prime Minister ( continued)
T think the m~ ore that is known, the maore people would be
concerned at the attitudes of the Soviet Union and at the
interference in our domestic political affairs.
Caller-Mr. Fraser, I think we should have A referendum on non.-European.
iimigration; whether the Australian people want it or not.
Prime Minis~ ter.
That is fair enough, but there are some decisions that Govezrnments7-
just have to make, then it is our job to try and persuade that
the decisions we have made are right. As a result of North
Vietnamss victory in the Vietnam war, something upwards of a mill-iont
refugees got pushed out of South Vietnam not-i~ niediately, but
you will rememnbe~ r all the publicity about the boat people. aad.
they were the independent people who did not fit into the communist
_-regime an~ d.. theyW pgpfqrced out to sea-in ships,_ and hundred-s of
thouzands. on general estiimates,~ twould hve rowne at-sea. Soi-&.
landed at Darwin but a lot more in Indonesia or Malaysia. Than
again, Vietnam, supported by the Soviet Union, invaded Kampuchea'
and some morec hundreds of thousands of refugees from Kampuchea
iJnto Thailand and that is a regime that had suffered enormous
har= and difficulty first as a result of its own ruler'' PoLiPolt and."
secondly as a result of the invasion by Vietnam. -1 really do
believe that a relatively wealthy country such as Aus traliaC, ' Which
does have a good deal-of space in it, has an obligation to the
wider international community. We have very particular and
special obligations, of course, to all Australians to ou~ r Uown
people. But we live in one world. We are part of that world.
So, I believe that where there is a very savage and severe refugee
proble-i, especially if it is in our own part of the worl that
we have an obligation to do as' much as we can to help. -I am afraid
it is up to me and up to my Hiiniaters and Members, to, try ahd
persuade you that that is the right policy.
Caller i suppose you would call me a swinging voter. I think I am a
* disillusioned voter.
Prime Minister
I am sorrv about that*, but can I try and answaer your que-tati.
Caller Yes, any-way. It has-been said that Australia has a P.-esidenkjal.
type of rloverrunnt, where dacisions are made. at Cabinet lavel and
voted along Party lines in the Parliament. You mentioned. thle nature
of the debate in Parliament. I wionder if this may be the caune
of the-rather aggressive and very difficu t to listen to on radio
typo: debate that goes on. It has also been~ said that wr'. en ; n
Parj~~'. ft: ould perhap's af fect the tone. of the debate there, and
I wondered whether you saw a-role for ioen i n Go'; erriment,~ u
do not know that you have too many -domfai standing, cei~ tain! v rnolt
in thi~ s State.
614F, 6110180

6' 6/ 10/ 80 -8-
.~., Pritiv-Minister
I do see a role for women in Governmrent, and I have always been
disappointed thaV -there are not more womenf in the Parliament.
They have traditionally been given places, in the pre-zelectioa
process on the Senate tickets of the Liberal Partyt and Senator
Guilfoyle of course, and Yvonne McComb is a Senate candidate in
Queensland, and in other places. But for the Hou~ se of Representative
I think nothing like as m~ ny wormen as -men have stood for
pre-selection in the House of Representatives. I agree with you,
not too m~ any of then have actually got pro-selection. This is -the
samen for all political parties. I again say, that I of ten wish
it were otherwise. You might be interested to know that in
Victoria and I mention ary own, State, because I will probably get.
muddled on the precise constitutional details of the Liberal Party
in each State, it isi a Federation and each State has its awn,
constitution but-in~ Victoria right since 1945 ; e have had a
provision that in all the offices of the Party, they have to be
balanced; ' men, women. On the State Executive of the Party we have
ten wmen from the country, ten raen frmtecuty. ehv
wi-rm0n frimthe , ity* hVa ve-t en tmen fram the citV*.
4Vice-President. ' qe have a male Vice-President. The conStitation
itself, long before this was a general political quiestion,
enshrined equality of the sex~ es. I thLink this is one of the reasons
that has helpedl the Liberal Party in Victoria very maurch. But, I
do not know how you either get or. ppersuade more women to stand for-
Parliament, more women to be successful candidates. Personally, r
Would like to see it.
caller
Mr. Fraser, I would li-ke to say first of all that it is great-to h V~
someone like you as a leader. I am a Liberal, but i do not think
you have to be a Liberal to be proud to have youi represerting us
on the international scene too..-Your Goverrnent's policy on
petrol parity pricing of course has hit our hip pocket and I think
broug~ ht us down to earth with the conflict between Iraq and Iran.-
But is there any evidence that this policy is actually aidIng
Australia in conservation. You know, are Australians becoing
energy conscious?
Prim~ e Minister
Yes, it is.. it -is helping I th ink in a n u r of Ways-.-peepie ars'
obviously moving to buying -more economical carst and the motor
. s1 tp s e t f ah g re t i p et s b hi n t h . o l c
industv bPidtht eople are'
Well over-$ 1,000 milljion of additional explor, in zip de-velop-cent.'
As : i result of that, Bass Str-alt reserva-S have been extende4
significantly, because mare oil been fovwnd. The grea't
North West Shelf project; that is only viable under a certain.'
1pricing regime. ' his State has had great courage a-nd fore-sight'
in -Tettinq contriacti ounder -ay arid gjet -in! -tha A-~ ct_ c

6W?, 6/ 10/ 80-
Prime IHinister ( continued)
But without a parity pricing policy for fuel, it would be I thinlk.
very hard to sustain it. The other thing of course,, that we hiave
to watch out for, is that ' the Bass Strait reserves are f inite.
In the 1990s. at some point they will start to dry up pretty
rapidly. N~ owt unless we have found alternatives by then Australia
is going. to have to make the very dif ficult problens of adjustnent.
so our policies; are encouraging people to look for alternatives.
The best prospect at the moment is oil from Queensland shale.
The objective is that that would come on stream about the time
Bass Strait starts to dry up. tThis would maintain Australia's
self -suff ien, 6 and sense of independence. I think you are quite
right to point out that as a result of the ' war in Iran and Iraq,
it is very necessary that we do maintain that independence. 1( e are
not going to do it under promises of reducing the price of petrol.
En fact, the Labor Party have not promised to reduce the price of.
petrol. They have--promised for the future to increase* the price
of patrol, either by the am~ ount of the OPEC price increases or
by the rate of inflation whichever is the lesser. Since. Lalbor
policies mtehan woupld rceg~ reatlyf ptroinclrea. se vould pther obaabma-oulnyt --g--of -o&. infl-atigon, o ing-. uLy-that th.
amount of O? 9C price increases which certainly before the wa r w e
starting to moderate.
c~ aller
I too am one of those swinging voters. . I have a couple of points,
here and I. wonder if . you would coiment please. We hear much * of the'
superphosphate bounty which I believe amounts to something les
than $ 6 million a year. I believe that the-TV. schools which the.
Government spends something like $ 19 million a year we do' not
hear very much about this, and then the other point is, in the.
Farmers Weekly, issue 18 September, heading " BPC to be axed
after the election".-I will just read one or two points briefly.
" Canberra; the British Phosphate Commission -will be phased out in-.
June next year and replaced by the organisation set up for the
Australian fertilizer manufacturers. The move, supported by the'
Federal Government, will give fertiliser manufacturers control of
all phosphate rock imported to Australia. It will also provide*
them wdith a monopoly power to. set their ovn prices. The proposed
plan, kept under wraps by the Federal Government Cabinet will not
be. announced until after the coming election for fear of alienating
the rural vote". May... have a comrnient please Mr._ Fraser.
Prim Minister
S. 4 Yes. But. t can agk you -were you earlier saying the superphospilhate.
. bounty, $ 6 million only. What was that $ 6 million you mntionedi in
relation to the bousty?
Caller Yes. Pr ime. Minister
W811, * it cbvirovsly costs very ' nuch mor than that. I haen,:
got the precise ftgure in my ttind, bit theP superpboohats boILn1v
would cost very very substantial'Ly more than that jh~ a EIC" Ura
9

6WFO 6/ 10/ 80
Prima Minister ( continued)
in my mind -no, I had better not give it because r just do not
Kcarry it and I would not wan t to mislead you. But it is a VerI
much more costly policy than that.
There is a film and television school, which I think is very
ndeocmeessstaicr y. a nd Auwsotrrlda limaanr kfeitsl. a s arrn e onneo w sesntsaer, t inthge yt o a-droe tvheer y flwaegl-l in.
carriers for Australia. In the policy speech we ann~ ounced new
* incentives to encourage people to invest in film ma-king. Wben I
see a great,, Australian production like " Breaker IHorant"., I certainly
have a feeling of -pride. To have that'shown in co'untries
overSeaq, as I hope it will ba, r t" Ink is good for this country.-
So that sorto-f excelleiice and flag carrying for Australia s
something 4hich I think Covernments ought to support and pc.
i f pos ib le.
our policies are designed to try and get phosphorous to farmers*
as cheaply as possibU!, and that is ,; hy we have got the bounty.
That is why the bounty has be-en m~ aintained. r was put under a
_-great deal~ o prsonal-critii as a reutof ' tJsEb
Ihappen to be a farmer and in an area where superphos., phate izr
nuusmedib. e r oBuf t suwpe errpechooganpih~ aete thcoamt ipiatn iiess . vanedr y nsuepceerhssshat ry. Theriseaa iaalre a
fromn a variet4 of sources. if the companies in Australia were
going to try and put up superphosphate unreasonably I have no
doubt. t-hat soiinethi-nq would be done about it. There would bz the
capacity for the Price,-Justification Tribunal to operate in the
area, to point up what they are doing and to publicisa the fact
and to bring pressure to bear against the Compapies. The'r e is
certainly no secret plan which is going to lead to miassive-increa sea.
in the cost of superphosphate which is being kept under wraps
until after the election. indeed, our policies have done a qreat
deal to support the farming cotm-unities and to re-establish
confidence in Australia's rural industries,-to -provide the
necessary financial eupports and encouragements which help people'
variable seasons.
-There is. no secret plan, there is no secret wteapon, that is going
to be unpleasant in relation to this.
Mr. F'raser, you mentioned the f Ilm industr-y and Sen~ ator Susan Rya~ n
said that she felt that the filzi industry and the re-emarqtng i'
industri in Australia vmz under some thet Wha do you
prpse to do to keep ha going?
Prim---Minister
Well, what had hajp,. ened was that because we teve been pietty
assiduous In tax evoidance maasures, the basis of-fu: in iir t
f i Ln ndustry because we knocke-d of f somte tax avoidance schae. 4.
-the b,-sis -of fundin~ g for the fil-industry-a-nd feature f, Djtz
epially, was in a sense destroye d. We learnt Un.' 4tthi & abott
e~ P~ c c a s. . Z) w hlat: we ars qo1 r t x~ c
4.;

p r
Ii F' U 3' I I
I
( 3
t~ A Il
Prime Minister ( continued)
is for investments in film, provide 150 per cent write off
on the capital that is involved in the year of expenditure,_ and
then because we really do -want people to make good quality
films, and for that there has got to be a special inducement for
profits, to getting profits out of the films we are going to
rebate 50 per cent of the tax that would otherwise be payjable.
Film making is a high risk business.. If people have tha courage
and belief that they are backing a really goodi quality film,. there
will also now be goad money and good profits in it. This is in * fact
what the f ilm industry were asking for. Wet have done it. I have
since had V~ ttera saying " please, will you get back in quickly and.
legislate for it so. we can get oniwith film -making under these
arrangements". I was very disturbed when t found, as a quite
by-product of pursuing tax avoidance, we found that we were.
catching up'with the mechanisms used to enco -urage investment in,
the filmi industry. But the way to solve that was to provide
specific incentives for the film industry, which we have. done.-
Caller Mr.* Fraser, I am going to touch upfon severaL points which are
of profound importance to Australia, and will have far-reaching
repercussions., The first of course, is-the figures that have been
released recently from a RIoman Catholic organisation. -in Melbourne-
: which -compute the f igure of -2 million * who are. living'i ~ rli---
at the present moment on or below the poverty line. This ' is in
contrast to a figure of one million brought out in 1976 by
Hr. Henderson the Henderson Report. How, that actually, that
figure has doubled in four years. This iz als3o borne., ouat.
acualymae criain seven, may 1' state! a aquick. Ca~ culatiri.
is also-borne out by. Xr. Sadbe1' s(?) comnent. yesterday . wiere be
says14 per cent, or oein seven, in Perth, are living on. or be1ow
the poverty line. Somewhere along the line, economic management
in a very, very wealthy country like Australia has sadly maissed
out. They have qone astray. This high figure shouldn't., exist
in a country with such large natural wealth -enormous natural
wealth that Australia has.
Stone If you have two othsr points, 11n, sorry to interrupt, but you
will need to be briefer.
Caller defence not conventional defence of vhich we are. all eyV er* v.
wrappsd up in, and consider it to be mv. 06 Lmportant, but -which L~
do not approve of, I would say the majority of Australians, is3
nuclear defence, and I ari re-ferring to the B-52 bombers and t~ he
nuclear submiarines using our facilities. We have the Americants
defence w ord that they they will not carry nuclear weapona but
-their word over the years has proved cannot be trusted. And inw% 1) ber
three is, how soon can we expect you to da--rec> qnise the raurderous
Pol Pot regt, re who incidentally have b-sen pfupdsrinq all the rice
donations I believe that should have been goirva to th. e-peopibp.
6/ 8/ 80

P r fr,-inister
I will deal with those in the reverse order. The Pol Pot regime
is a loathsome and horrible regimet and let me make that quite
plain. But-what we have been concerned for is ' to try a-nd have
policies that will ultinately enable the Kampuchean people to ma3ke
a decision about their own future. ' At ths raoment there. axe
220,000 Vietnamese in that country supporting another regime that
is just as much loathed by the Kaimpucheansy as t understand it,
as Pol Pot. The number of guerillas fighting the Vietnamese has
doubled over the last 12 months, ' which is some indication that they
are not real1 y welcomed in the counmtry. There will be a. vote in thxe-
United N~ ations fairly shortly on the credentials issue. everyone
has agreed that the Vietnarrese-backed puppet Gove r-amnt should
not be given the seat in the United Nations. The only other thinq-
T want to say about is that there will be a statem~ ent from
Australia after Chat credentials vote. We have placed a great,
deal of importance on working with ASFAH countries who are in the
fron't line of this partic-ular problem. ' They want peace in their
awn, part of the world very much, and I think we have'some obligation
I am glad you regard defence as im~ portant, bult we also need tb'
understand that the Soviet Union has overdheliaing con-vention" l
superiorlty, and the only thing that has kept the world t'o any
extent safe, the only thing that has prevented war in Surope, is
over a long period the extent oaf laerican nuclear p owe r. TLhe
Suropeans, all now I-noyw that the dae~ eace of Western 01; ropAe i~ a. e
on the use of nuclear posier, and very shortly aaih -ot necastarfly
in major inter-continental weaponsr-' but cert-ainly tc L~ ie~ aweapons
the Suropeans know that they. cannot be defended any othr
way because of the size of the Russian armies and the nature of
the Russian armies in the Warsaw countries. We are an ally of the.
United States., It is im~ portant, I thinkr, for us to rem-a-ber. that.'
It is important also to rcieeither that the Soviet Union has be-en
extend ing its influence, while other wnpires have properly been.-
dismantled. The de-colonisation process has gone or% in all the
yeara since the war. Th;? Soviet Union has expanded its empire.
and done so in a very ruthless way. There are workers iii Poland
at the moment trying to establish sxne little part in the freedoms
that you and I and all Australiana just take for granted. But
they are doing it uinder the shado-d of Soviet involverment and
activity as the Soviets did Ln relation to Hungary , Ld Cze-hoslova-ia
in earlier years. So, in a world whiris the Soviet Union is.
expa~ nding its defence torcesq very greatly, those people in CC-untriez
who want independence and want freedon, must work tooether to
A advance their own causa an-d to defend their oif-n ltberbiea T at
dosJnvolve co-oparation with tha Unitad StAte A111sie ta
have been in coclzbkirn ' Soound MNr-llit lam iS -ecord asmitnq stg
PatWaea~ wihl t wteict to h -othpee rate e UnTi teed AS tsa tesr. li nL .1
in thaze a reas.

6W~, 6/ 10/ 80 -KP
rime 1Minister ( continued)
The B-52 mtissions, ' which if the agreements can be sorted4 out
appropriately and protecting, as of course they would, Austrafian
sovereignty in its totality, are for surveillance Mtissionsoverthe
Indian Ocean where there is an important part'of a shared
objective with the United States. The crews at the m~ oment are
doing the same work but they have to stay in the air for
33 hours which puts great -stress and strain-on them just i** n termuS
of physical endurance. If tey could transit through Darwin,, it
would enable them to undertake the same functions with very rauchi
less physica , ef fort on their own account. And again, providing
arrangements can be worked out adequately, I think that we -ought
to co-operate with the United States in that: sense. And ttie-will.,
So, we just cannot-sit back and say we are prepared to be defended
by the United States and that is good enough. That wilt protect. u,
and we are not going to do anything on our own account. T-f
believe in the liberties of free people, we.. need to. know that ther.
is some cost to ourselves ini relation to the defence of thjt. Jiber'ty-r
The 1 irst ques tion you asked was then about the alle-ged level
of poverty in Austtaila. * if ind it, very dif ficult -to accept.. those_
figures. 1 think, especially, looking around a city such as'
Perth, it would be very hard to accept those figures. it is worth'
noting that the standard rate of pension is a higher proportion., of.
average weekly earnings, and has reached a higher proportion of
average wetekly earnings under'twy-Governmen-t. than it ever did
under the Labor -Government -qite signific ant~ iyhighej'and I t ' has
been maintained on that basis. Because, we com1ritted ourselves
to twice yearly indexation of pensions for the full extent of
changes in the Consumer Price. rndex. You might have since you.
asked this question you might have listened to mr. -Hayden's
policy speech where he said that the highest point had been reached
in effect ina Budget that he introduced in 1975. -But that Is not
correct, because what he did was to take a pension f igure -as it
was going to relate to November 1975 and put that over the averageweekly
earnings figure for June of 1915 and. it worked out a.
certain percentage. Tha right way to work out those figures,-andthe
way ths Statistician, or the Department, works them ouit
always, is the level of pension at any one timke namely . Tn
November 1975 and put that over the averagi õ weekly earnings
figure for November 1975. on that basis, you would find** ta~
Kr. Hlayden's claim to have eatablished a higher level as a
percentl-age of average weekly earnings for pensions wias a false on* e.'
I thin~ k you also need to look at other thing's that we are doing to.
help the * disadvan taged people in the! Australian cormaunity. have
spent very large sumq-indeed on supporting nearly 1,200 projects
to build homes for elderly people and for frail aged. In ter-, ss of,
disadvantaged and physically handicapp ed people'we have overth
last three years spent SO per cent more 0 per-centc rore in real.
terms than was spent in the three Labor years. -That is exttending
sheltere * d workshops, the provision and cara-for dizabled people
to try and establish the circunistances in which they can live in.
the hustralian corranunity as part of the ccrmnmunity, and not be pushed
aside as disabled or handicapped people had too often been pushed
aside in the past. So you have got to lok.. at 1l these things.

6W71, 6/ 10/ 80 14.
Prime Minister ( continued)
I really do believe' that if you speak to people who are working
in these areas, they will pay-recognition to the very great
progress that has been inade over the last four or f iVi-years..
Stone That figure that Verai~ ntiohed, the two million under the poverty
line, was released by the B~ otherhood of St. Lawrence, and .1
assume a great number of that two million come -from the unemployed.
Who's responsill~ ty is unem~ ployment?
Prime minister
it is ever-lone's responsibility. It is certainly a responsibility.
on Covernment. Over the last 12 m~ onths em~ ployment has grownm more
strongly than it has for ten years by over 200,000. It is also
interesting that teenage employment has grown over-the last 12
months raore than it has grown for the last 15 years: it is the
hj es year for. qrwt. Ply t r think both those
figures ara encouraging for our policies. W o
talkback last night some 16,17 year old girls ringing m~ e and teld1ing9
me that they have difficulty. They had left school young, before
they had a job lined up and I think they would have been much
. better. off staying at school, or if they wanted to leave school
go into sotte sort of further technical or vocational train ing i
they were not able to go straight to a job and we have established
Speci~ al training pf~ orrmeus. Uinder those proqranmes this year it
is -expected that over 230,000 Australians will be assiated. You
do eeds) cills which match the jobs that are available. We are
doing a good deal to assist. But then again these are . Govexrutent..
1~ responsibilities and I do not suggest for a momnent that there -is.
not a very real one -and running a healthy and sensible economiyis
p<.-rhp the="" nast="" of="" all.="" because="" all="" this="" muineral="" a.="" nd="" reso="" ce=""> developmient, Labor spokesmen from Mr. Hayden-down have co~ xitted
themselves to saying that it will provide very substantial
employment. That is one of the reasons u-e are concerned for
growth an~ d for developm~ ent-. There are responsibilities -oil otherp
eople also. There are rasponsibilities, I believe, on the trade
unios t tr and minimise the effect of industrial disputes, n
on--nr-anagement to do the samer because if there are no disputes
employers are more interested in employing more people. There are
altso responsibilities on the union movemnt as I bpelieve, not to
prs for totally unre. sonable wage claisa which rma3kait. harder' to
4 aciL -r~ emeprlo yment. The pressure for a 3--houc week;
4 have ncit the sliqhteot douibt that even the Prospect of a
week deters people from, employing raore labour, bicuete ~ o
that the add itional 1' 3ss would he very qreat Lndee d. ra Other
wodthe. u nion rmoven ent bas so of tert pursued po ILiiea a th
311 righft for current union* inAbeirs -pasople in jobs -but which
ignore totally the interests of people o3. t -of work., Now, thlose
poitsdo otdininigh responsibility eo tar as Governrra' is
concerned. I am just making the point that if we are really going
to h _-va the wilIt and de te rmina tion as a Cn-ranity to n . e t h_
ri.-xirmLm Lmpact on-hhoae wh~ o wanit to Work thdt ar~ e ot ahble t e
jo-b, the n there are nny different pieople e-t
4, L L 111

Caller Some-of the Labor Party politicians have ( inaudible) admitted.
that they will introduce capital gains tax and possibly
re-introduce death duties to re-distribute the country's wealth,:
as they put it. What effect do you think capital gains tax would
have on the general confidence in business, in farm~ ing, anid oni the
=, all investor who possibly only wishes to buy -a block and build a
house on it with the idea of, having something increaing in value
as the years go by. And also, how would this affect employment
in the future?
Prime minist~ r
J think capital taxes of this kind would be m~ ost unfortuaate..
But depending on which spokesman you go to, there is no doubt that.
the Labor Party have certainly committed themnselves to introducing
a capital tax. Some have comtrzited themselves to a. capital1 gains
tax, to a wealth ta-n odat uis Mr.. Willis said that it.
was wrong that we did not have a combination of these, or maybe all
-three of them together. Lionel Bowen has said that a ' wealth tax,
Ihch -would'l6e tax-nbt only onl companies afid ehottc6ratiorf-4M. 1
small businesses, but % would be a. tax on the wtealth of all Australian
families, would raise $ 1, S00 million. Iniagine having to have
somebody go through your house once a year to see whether it had
changed in value to see ' what tax you had to pay on it. And death
uties, I believe under this Labor Government, would4 ciertainly come
U.-' back. Now, one of the problems with capital taxes of this kind. is
ttthey are not taxes on profits. You could have situationswhr
the profitability on a farm, or for that matter in difficult
circumstances other small businesses, is very-low, but because Of..
inf lation induced by Government the actual capital value Of the farm,.
or the capital value of the small business, has g-rown. And
therefore, you are going to have to pay tax on the capital induced
by Government policies, but you will not have any incom~ e to pay it
out of. Therefore, you are forced to sell up the business or Celt
up the farm. When Labor's inflation reached 17 per cent, the
costs farm costs went up 30 per cent in that year, The
prof itability of farms was virtually nil. If you had had a capital
gains tax, you would have had to pay tax-. You would not have had
an incomie to do it, and the tax could well have been considerable
-eauoef Labor's Governmrent-induced inflation. Now, this sort of
thing would destroy businesses, It would destroy small busisne-se~ s
and it would destroy farmers in the pastoral industry. -Thah is
of the reasons we got rid of death duties, because did ian
people to have to be worrying all) thier lives as to Vhether they
were going to have th. eir son3 and f zi lies carrying on. f3tr thty
had died.: better to pay as you qo. But it is only a couple o. ( jays
ago that Senator 14alsh reaffirtned tha L r. art. y'a poi'e~ t
theae taxes. Mr. Hayden has made his position quite clear,. It
would be a massive attack on Australian enterprise.
Calle-Tw~ o qiuestiong, and I -dill try and be brief. Neither you -jor any
o11 ye u coileagues have attem~ pted to deny F~ a~ ny of yo~ ur
last a.! Ction promises were brokeD or unbalfillad, and on ; dhtz

6Wt?, 6/ 10/ 80
C. 3Ller ( continued)
one of these of course was your treatment of Medibank, and youseem
to have gone out of your way to avoid mentioning this in
your election manifestLo. What is going to happen to what
rem~ ains of tMedibank after this election if you are returned to
power, and health care in general?
PrLtie minister
They are fair enough qUeStiOnS. if you look through the policy
speech from 19,75 or 1977, you will see that; over-whelming the
comnitments that we ( nade have been met and-met-In their
entirety, overwhelming, There have been one or two areas3 where
w-had objectives which we have not been able to meet in their
entirety. International circuumstances had changed very
considerably. I have got to say that in 19.75#-l believed the
international econonies would improve, that they would grow, and
that would help AustralLa to some extent. Well:, they have* not.
Kany international econom~ ies are in a much worse state than
Ausrala'sat-the-present-tiwe. _ Eut-what-we did do.,. is. omk
a decision very firmly that we would put Australia first in
everything that we did, and if * we had to alter tha out. of our
sails, the setting of our uails to some extent, -to make sure that
we had the best'~ and the wisest policies for Australia, well then.
we were going to do that. I havs said that many. times over recent*
weeks. it would be very wrong to stay with a policy if domestic
or-interniational circumstances. made that policy quite
inappropriate for Australia. Goverrnments must. have the capacity--
to make the decisions that they think are best for Australia at
any one point. But in short compass, if you o through those
policy-Speecbes, you will find that overihelmirgly the ccrmitmen ts
have been met. For the years ahead, I would like you to look at
our policies and to look at, the Labor Party's policies, and see
which ones will do best for Australia in the coraing years.
would like you just to think that in 1915, this economy was doing
much worse than most world econom~ ies. Now, in 1980, -we are doing
much better and our inflation is lower, our growth is greater, our*
growth in employment is. m~ oving ahead quite strongly over the las-. t
12 months.
You ' also asked me a question about Medibank. Wh at we have had to
try and do is to conserve the expenditure of Gver=. ent doLlarS,_-
which in fact have-to be taken from people Ocvarnments do-not have
any funds of their own and anytl inq Government,-spelnd 1havetob
taken f rom taxpayerg. Na'w, when Mir. Hayden Introduced IMedibanit-,
Ccmmonwealth payments for health went up by 114 per cent in oa2 yer
Quita. plainly, that had to be substantially reduce. d. ou just
canniot austain that kind of iric rease in health. expenditure oz in
any otlier expenditure. So what we have done is. to try and
concentrate Covernztent resources in the pension and. wlfr araa
and on other people who are regarded as disadvantaged. Thley are
covered and provided for in a very adequate way. We have established
a hospital costs inquiry. Hospital ependiture absorbs about
per cent or 80 per cent of everythtri that is ape'nt iUn the health
a) rea.. cy it1 r'i! sA . av -very expensive Ve are ttII_-' oA
TAvtU ~ oi. t~ Jv. n~ k~ l o wi: iys in wn. ihh I

Prime Minister ( continued)
maintaining very high quality health services. which Australidoes
have but in a way which is a bit more economical so far as.-
the taxpayers of this counitry are concerned.
Call e r
We are on the verge of a rp1atively major resources boom.. Would
you like to tell the public what areas or initiatives you are
going to take in protecting the. environment and conservation..
Prime Minister-
Well, we have acted quite dramatically " nd very firmly'to
protect the environmpent. There are the environnment protection
acts of course, and we work. very closely with the states ia
relation to that. We have shown that we are prepared to act
even if there is some difficulty because of Fraser Island where
we banned mining from Fraser Island. In uranium mtning in the
. Northern Territoryl we-have carried, out -in, f UlI L er c01&
set of environmnental provisions; one to protect the environment
and two to protect the Aboriginal population, working in
co-operation with the-l4orthern Land Council. All these action's
have been takerd and obviously will be maintained. I also anounced
a short while ago that we.. have emnbarked on the world conseriation
strategy applying that to Australia which Is a very1
comprehensive approach to all the problems of the environment
atos pmaakret osuf reo urt hcart eidt enist iaplrso, t etchtee dB afrorrie rf uRtuereef , yethaer s-. K akaAdgua iNn, a t'ioonnljaYl
Park in the Northern Territory warsekn L isting for both
of these on the World Heritage List, and it is the fi! rat timie
I think~ that Australia will have had anything listed there. -The
other thing which we did in termas of helping to protect the
enviromment was undertake the inquiry and the -implementation~ of
the inquiry's recommendations in relation to whales and whaling and
the abandonding of the killing of whales for -commercial purposes.

A great many thingjs we have done, and I agree with you that
L protection of the environment is vastly inportant. We have Ilong
left the days when davelopmnent. can go ahead regardless . of the
consequences. We want development and we are going to achieve it,
but at the same time we bealieve that that can be done in a way. that
' is quite consistent with maintaining a good environument for
4 future generations. 000-
*. A

Transcript 5466