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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 5514

PRIME MINISTER INTERVIEWED ON RADIO STATION 2MW, COOLANGATTA, WITH PETER WHITE, LIBERAL CANDIDATE FOR MCPHERSON IN BY ELECTION: INTERVIEWER: THOMPSON

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: 16/02/1981

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 5514

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PRESS OFFICE TRANSCRIPT MONDAY, 16 FEBRUARY, 1981
PRIME MINISTER INTERVIEWED ON RADIO STATION 2MW, COOLANGATTA,
WITH PETER WHITE, LIBERAL'CANDIDATE FOR MCPHERSON IN BY ELECTIONq:
INTERVIEWER: _' THOMPSON
Thompson Prime Minister of Australia, Mr. Malcolm Fraser, and as you
said, the. Liberal candidate for McPherson in the by election
coming up on Saturday, Peter White. First of all, Prime Minister,
thank you very much indeed for joining us and we will be taking
calls if anyone would like to talk to you. Sir, just while we
are waiting for the first call; the issue of flat rate taxation.
appears to have become the major issue of the McPherson by
election. Are you surprised at that?
Prime Minister
I am not surprised-that people are talking about it, but I
do not really think it is a major issue, because I believe -that
most people recognise it for what it is. Something that is
going to more than double the tax on a bloke with a dependent
wife with the modest income of $ 9,000, and half the tax on
somebody at $ 50,000 is not exactly equitable. I do not think itwill
get any support on that basis. A tax change which is making
lower income people pay a lot more, and the wealthy pay a lot
less, is not something that we would support. But even going
beyond that, it would mean a lot less revenue collected overall,
and the Queensland share of reduced-revenue would be $ 500 million,
Well now, if Joh is prepared to take $ 500 million less from the
Commonwealth, I will be delighted. But on the other hand, he
signed a document the other day with Neville Wran and well,
all the Premiers were there but Joh was in the company with
the Socialist Premiers also, they all signed the one document,
saying they wanted more, a bigger slice of taxes. Now how can h~ e
come to me, as Prime Minister, as say he wants me to give him
-more taxes when he is saying to the people in McPherson he wantsless.
I think there is a slight contradiction there.
Thompson Prime Minister, thank you. Peter White, it is a pleasure to.
welcome you to 97MW as well. Peter, it has been suggested that
you have a certain reputation, you developed a certain reputation
in State Parliament as the Member for Southport, of being somethingof
an anti-coalitionist and this has been brought up during the
campaign. How do you react to that claim?
Peter White
Well, it has been brought fairly forcibly by the Premier,
particularly in the last few days, and I just do not react at all
because I think it is a pity that some of the things he's said
have come down to the level of sort of personal attacks. / 2

-2
Peter White ( continued)
I stand by everything that I have said during my term in
State Parliament, because I would still ( inaudible) issues and
principles which I believe were very important to my electorate
and to me, and to the Parliament. But having said all that,
I have made it clear, and I hope it is clear to everyone, that.
we are now talking about a Federal Parliament. We are talking
about a Federal coalition, which is nost successful and has
brought Australia to an unparalleled degree of prosperity with
more to com I look forward to working in that coalition, with
men that I very much admire and respect.
Thompson Thank you very much Mr. Peter White. Prime Minister, I take
this opportunity to raise a point which doesn't actually come'
into the by election as such, but which is one touching on the
electronic media; and that is the question of the blackout for
the 72 hours before the election. Has there been any thought
given to perhaps varying this legislation?
Prime Minister-
A great deal of thought. A large part of the original blackout
was because people were frightened of the power of the media which
is yourself, radio, because it came in in radio days and then
television also. Things being said * at the last minute without a
chance to rebut them. Now, that might be unreasonable, but I
also think that, especially in a Federal election where people
get bombarded all the time on television and radio and newspapers,
that they like a bit of a rest in the last couple of days, quietly
to make up their own minds, not being badgered, not having their
programmes op television interrupted. That quite period before
the election -it is a bit of a cooling off. The average guy
can just sit back and make his own assessment without being told
all the time. I am not at all sure that is a bad thing. We have
thought , about it many times and we did again a short while ago,
but we decided not to alter it.
Thompson Fine. Wel1l at least we can take it that it is being considered.
Peter White: the local issues of this election campaign I think
have come down to telephones, Telecom service on the Gold Coast
or lack of it, and television.
Peter White
That is very important. I think of all the things that have
been said, the thing that is hitting and hurting people most
is the telephone service. No-one specifically is to blame because
it is a result of unparalleled growth on the Coast, but the main
thing is to get it fixed and last time the Prime Minister was here
I brought the General Manager of Telecom on the Coast to meet
him. He is well aware of the problems, and it is one of the firs%~
things that I will be taking up on the 22nd of February. ./ 3

-3
Thompson Prime Minister, back to the point of the flat rate tax, which
I hope it never comes in because it is hard enough to say as
it is, but the National Country Party has been the advocate
of this yet I believe that the National Farmer's Federation
which I would think would be a supporter of the National Party,
has found it necessary to oppose the National Country Party's
ideas. Why do you think this is so?
Prime Minister-
Well, when Glen Sheil announced the details of the flat rate
tax he said that he wanted to make up some of the shortfall
with a 20% capital gains tax.-not on your house of residence,
but on everything else that you might buy or sell. That
immediately sends all the f armers up the wall but I think it
would also send small businesses up the wall. ; This was one
of the things we specifically rejected. The Labor Party had it.
in their programme at the last election. I was very surprised
to see Glen Sheil pick up a capital gains tax. The other side of
it of course is that I was also surprised to see Joh. implyedly
supporting it, because he had I give him credit for this he
abolished death duties. He got in just before the Commonwealth
in getting rid of death duties, but only just, and then to have
him implyedly supporting policies that would replace a death duty
on the dead with a death duty on the living which is what
Glen Sheil's proposal would do I just do not think it makes
sense and it would be a very regressive move for development in
a vital area such as the Gold Coast. People starting a small
business it is sometimes hard enough anyway. Well, to be landed
with a capital gains tax would just make it that much harder.
I am very much against it.
Pet er White
I just do not understand how any so-called anti-socialist
party could propose such a tax, and it is causing a great deal of
concern on the Coast. On the Coast particularly, because look
at the property sales here on the Coast, and the economy would
be killed overnight. Anyway, it has got no chance of coming in
so I think we can dismiss it. for what it is.
Thompson Prime Minister, what-then is the Liberal Party's attitude
to taxation and do you have any plans for relief to what is
considered to be a high rate of taxation? Personal.
Prime Minister
Yes, I understand that. We are reviewing, as I think everyone
is aware, the tax structure and the tax balance at the moment.
To get reductions in tax overall, the only real way you can do it
is by restraining expenditure. We have done that pretty vigourously / 4

-4
Prime Minister ( continued)
over the last five years. Our. Public Servants which is one
measure are 10,000 less in total than five years ago. Over
the same period, the Queensland Public Service has risen.
The whole service has risen, and I think by what was it?-
in the years that Joh ' has been Premier. The expenditure
per head has risen enormously in real terms over the last
few years in this State. It is not just a question of restraint
in expenditure on the part of the Commonwealth, but also on the
part of the State, because the States and local government spend
of all the taxes collected; we spend 50%. We have reduced
taxes, we have abolished death duties, we have provided special
incentives to industry, to tourists, and I know the one thing
that many people would want is reduced income tax. Unless all
Governments are prepared to restrain expenditure a good deal more
than they have been up to the moment, and unless State Governments
are prepared to join us in that, it is going to be very difficult
to reduce income tax substantially unless at the same time you
can replace it with another form of tax. People then go to
indirect taxes as Mr. Anthony did the other day. would it be wise
to take a decision that could add anything from 3% to 5% on
Australia's rate of-inflation? We have struggled so hard to get
that down, and it is a beacon right around the Western world because
we have performed better. But if we put it up by a change in the
balance of taxation this is the difficult question or matter
of judgement that is going to be before the Federal. Government.
But when we-have a Premier's Conference, especially in the light
of the policies of this State, I will be looking for contributions
from the Premiers to the general purpose of tax deduction in a
very realistic way. There is now question of that. If this
by election has convinced me of anything, it has convinced me
perhaps that Joh would take that $ 500 million less for Queensland
which his tax proposals will involve.
Thompson You are. listening: to the voice of the Prime Minister, Mr. Fraser.
He is wit~ h us in our twin-town studios at 97MW. If you would like
to talk to the Prime Minister, our telephone number is 373344.
We have a caller, Prime Minister and Mr. White, on the line right
now, We have from Burleigh Heads, Mr. John Clark. Good afternoon
John Clark.
Caller Good afternoon, how are you.
Thompson Fine thank you. Could.' you speak up a little bit please and would
you like to pose your question?

FCaller Right. My question is to either the Prime Minister or Mr. White,
and from the position of a swinging voter, particularly on say
the capital gains tax or the 20% taxation that they are looking
at bringing in not bringing, but Senator Sheil is campaiging
for. How can we have a Coalition Government that is a National
Country Party and also a Liberal Party Government, one Party*
advocating, or with the candidate advocating that he would like
a 20% tax, and another member of the opposite Party saying that
is not going to happen. Where does that leave that swinging
voter? Prime Minister
The Government has the policies of Government and that is
quite clear. At the moment as a Government we are examining
the tax issue. Mr.-Anthony has said he is attracted to the flat
rate tax concept but has said very plainly that it has got
difficulties and he fully understands the financial difficulties
in the proposal. It is true that the National Party in Queensland
has a policy of flat rate tax, which as I indicated earlier would
be-very inequitable on lower income people in the community and
the Liberal Party will not and would not embrace it. The
Divisions of the Liberal Party, the Divisions State Divisionsof
the National Party all have bits and pieces of policy at
different times. That does not mean to say they are necessarily
the policies of the Federal Government. Obviously we take
account of our organisations, but they are separate organisations
and they do not determine the policy of the Government. That is
determined by the Cabinet which is one Cabinet,:-one Coalition.
Caller But don't. the people, don't the electors, have a chance, like
to say when going for Senator Sheil for example, or ex-Senator
Sheil, people voting for him are possibly going to be wanting this
taxation to come in. Correct?
Prime Minister-
Well, it cannot come in, you see, because on the one hand you
-cannotaffordit-a-flat rate tax. On-the other hand, if you-have
an income of $ 9,000 which is lowish by today's standards and
a dependent wife, your tax would go up by about 130%. If you have
$ 50,000 and a dependent wife your tax would be halved. Now, I
think that is a pretty inequitable proposal and any Party that
tried to embrace that in terms of election policy in a serious way
would I am quite certain be soundly defeated.
Caller So what you are saying is that everybody that may vote for
Mr. Sheil on that issue, is really wasting their vote.
Mr. White
Exactly.

-6
Prime Minister
They would be wasting their vote, because if it cannot
Caller if you are totally against it.
Prime Minister
It would be wasting your vote because it could not come in.
You cannot match it on financial grounds and in terms of equity
it is a selfish proposal. But there is another side to this
story. I used a figure of loss of revenue of about $ 5,000 million
last time I was up here. Well, John Howard got that figure
re-done and if you keep the present tax-free area nobody paying
tax up to about $ 4,000 the cost is about $ 7,000 million and'
when you come back to the tax-sharing arrangements we have with
the States, Queensland's share of that is $ 500 million. Now what
chance is there of Joh coming to the next Premier's Conference
and saying " ah Malcolm, I am prepared to give up $ 500 million".
That puts it into some sort of perspective.
Caller It sounds very much like a swinging voter or a Country Party
voter in the McPherson electorate is not going to really have
any say then, is he. Any policy is being dictated by a Liberal
Party. Prime Minister
I am not dictating.
Caller But'you -, have just said that it will not come in.
Prime Mintister
But it cannot you see.
Caller Mr. White just said it won't come in.
Prime Minister
But it cannot come in because it is inequitable, and I hope
you would agree that it is. Do you really think that for somebody
on $ 9,000 with a dependent wife, that it would be a fair thing
to increase that person's tax by 130%.
Caller Possibly not. ./ 7

-7
Prime Minister
No, well you see that was part of the proposal, so you are ' agreeing
with me.
Caller Right. Prime Minister
And do you think it is fair, while you are doing that, to halve
the tax on somebody on a more comfortable income of $ 50,000
a year.
Caller Hmmm. Mr. White
Peter White here. I think what you said before -that it would be
a wasted vote -is * correct, because Dr. Sheil knows very well tha~ t
it has never been-proposed to the Government and it is not an
-option open to the Government, however superficially attractive
it might be. The sums just do not add up and no Government could.
introduce it on financial grounds or on the grounds of social justice.
Thompson Prime Minister, I wonder if I could ask a question right now.
During the campaign Mr. White has raised the subject of the need
for a new bridge over the Tweed River at Boyds Now is onre
very . close the heart of 97M4W because we are trying as a community
service to get~ a little bit of interest in getting some Governmen~ t
funds from somewhere to build this bridge, at-least duplicated, or
perhaps build a new one. I presume that you have been briefed
on this particular campaign. Peter, have been on the job?
Peter White
No, I do not think we have got to that one today Ross. I just
might throw a couple of comments in.
Thompson Well before you do, what I wanted to bring up was the point that.
the NSW. Premier, Mr. Wran, has already indicated that the NSW
Government is not interested in building a new bridge, that their
plan is to simply duplicate the existing bridge after they have
completed the widening of the highway to six lanes. Now, to me
there seems to be something gone totally wrong. I was going to ask
the Prime Minister if there was anyway we could some Federal funds
on this one. Perhaps you would like to explain first. / 8

-8
Peter White
I think I must just set the background a little bit for him.
We have a major problem in Doug Anthony's electorate here on
the road, on the bridge, and of course what is good for the Coast
is good for his electorate as well, in tourist terms. I have
suggested that after the election that I go and see Doug Anthony
and see if we can have a combined approach to try and remove that
bottleneck because 85% of our tourists...
Prime Minister
Is it on a major highway, or national highway?
Peter White
Oh, yes, on the'Pacific Highway.
Thompson-Number 1 highway, Prime Minister.
Peter White
-It is a major bottleneck-in this area, and with 85% of your
people coming by road, it is something that we can perhaps have a
joint approach to.
Prime Minister
If that is on the major highway, the national highway, that is a
matter to take up with Ralph Hunt, because we have been trying to
work to a situation a little more and more where we have greater
responsibility for national highways, the States have more
responsibilitj' for the arterial roads and make judgements in relation
to that, but that we also support roads that are under the care of
local governxnent. i-Therefore, that is a matter to take up with
Ralph, and if it is possible for him to do something I am sure he
will. Peter White
I certainly intend taking it up with Ralph Hunt, but I thought if
I could get Doug Anthony on side, it would be a bit of clout.
Prime Minister
I have no doubt that would help.
Thompson It covers both electorates. Prime Minister we have on the line
Mr. Dawes of Murwillumbah who would like to talk to us about funding
for over-70 pensioners. Mr. Dawes, good afternoon. ./ 9

9-
Caller Good afternoon.
Prime Minister
You come from Doug's country, do you?
Caller Yes, I do indeed.-
Prime Minister
Right close by? I have never been to Murwillumbah. It must be
nice country.
Caller It is. It's great country, and a little bit wet at the mom6nt.
That is all the better for the farmer and what have you.
Prime Minister
would sooner have too much'rather than too little water Ithink..
Caller That is right.
Prime Minister
I have seen a lot of droughts.
Caller Mr. Prime Minister, the question that I would like to Ask you
is: could the Federal Government give consideration to exempting
the over-70 pensioner from the means-test.
Prime Minister
There is of course a base pension which people over 70 get, and
then if they want to get additional pension, there is a means test
for: it.;: It. all-comesbackto the -general level of -taxation that
people want to pay. What we have been trying to do in recent times
is to protect the person who has got no other income, and to provide
maximum support and maximum increases in the areas where people are
totally dependent upon Government. of course, if somebody over
has no other resources, they do get the maximum pension. It is only
for those who have some other income that might not qualify for it.
It is a matter that has been judged in the past, but we believe that
the welfare dollars ought to be spent more specifically for those
who have got the greatest need. That is why we have not done
what you suggest up to this point. I

10
Thompson Again onthe subject of pensions, we have on the line Mr. Keep(?)
from Tweed..; Heads.
Caller
14r. Prime Minister, I am a returned serviceman. A while ago you
were talking with a chappie and you mentioned the fact that if
anyone was working on below $ 9,000 per year, per annum, they would
be of course on a very low wage.
Prime Minister
I think I said it was a modest wage by today's standards, yes.
Caller I would say most modest. Now, my wife and I and I served through
the Middle East, the Islands, and Korea my wife and I areexisting
on $ 50 per week. How-does that sound? Is anything going
to be done about this.
Prime Minister
How is that worked out, because it is very hard to talk about an
individual case unless you know all the details.
Caller
Well, it is-the same with everyone. When they reach a certain age,
this is the commitment the Government feel that they have towards
personal Prime Minister.
Is this the Service pension you are talking about?
Caller Service pension, yes.
Prime Minister
Well, that * is not $ 50. between the two of you.
Caller No, it is not $ 50. It is $ 50 each. That wojrks out at $ 5,000
per year roughly, in my estimation.
Prime Minister
In terms of priorities for returned servicemen, what we do each
year is to sit down with the RSL and go through with the National
Executive the priorities of the National Executive for advances and
improvements in payments for benefits to returned servicemen. / 11

11
Prime Minister ( continued)
In the last two or three Budgets*. I have had quite specific
talks with the National President, Sir William Keyes, and we will
certainly continue that practice leading up to the next Budget.
What we have tried to do in this area of assistance to ex-servicemen'.
is to, as far as possible, meet the priorities that the League
itself sets.
Caller
Whilst not going quite along with that sir, $ 7 per day, $ 7 per day,
per person, to exist on in this particular day is very lucky to Even
buy one shout in your company at the present time I imagine, of beer.
I do not think this is very fair. I have contributed, besides
leaving a family to carry on, and my father had nine children.
Prime Minister
Well, that's a pretty good effort.
Caller My word it is. Well I am afraid the Government are not giving anything
-of! that effort that we have put into Australia back to us, sir.
Prime Minister
Well, we are spending record sums
Caller
We know where they are being spent sir, but they are not being
spent to keep the people alive.
Prime Minister
Well, we are spending record sums on welfare, and in a number of
areas we have indexed pensions twice a year. We have altered the
earlier complex means test with an income-test whi-ch has helped
quite a large number of people. In this last Budget in particular
we have provided substantial additional.-. support to-welf are
beneficiaries who have got dependent children. We did that
because we ' thought...
Caller If I may intercede there sir. Just one final point. ( Inaudible).
Could you live on this?
Prime Minister
I am not saying it would be easy, but let me give an example.
I know youngsters who are out working and running a car on a net:
wage of about...

12
Caller I am not a youngster sir, I have lived my life and I have...
Prime Minister
Yes, but people can live on that sort of wage, because I have
had my own kids do it when they have been jackarooing.
Caller Are they fully paid?
Prime Minister
Well, they are young, and they are learning a job so they are
not necessarily on an award wage.
Caller I put my best into my country sir, and I am not getting much
back from it.
Prime Minister
Again, what about taking that up through your own local RSL.
Caller I have done sir, apparently they get as Mr. Yeo(?) said a
couple of years ago we are getting nowhere.
Prime Minister
I think the RSL has got quite a long way, and if take it up
through the RSL and get the matter put on a priority in the
National Executive's list, then that is something that can be
looked at.
Thompson We will leave Mr. Keep there. Thank you very much indeed, Mr. Keep,
on that subject. I think we have had a fair go with your
question.; We have another caller on the line now from Palm Beach
on a similar subject, Prime Minister. It looks like this might
be the sleeper issue of the campaign: pensioner earnings. And
on the line, Mrs. Hegney of Palm Beach.
Caller I was going to bring up this funny story about Dr. Sheil saying
he is going to ( inaudible) for the pensioners being allowed to
earn $ 50 a week. Now, I will tell you my story. Three years ago
I was on a small invalid pension because my husband was earning.
Then he died and I went to Social Security after ( inaudible) now
I go on another pension. And they said " oh, no, it makes no
difference", you go on a single invalid pension. I have two teenagers
still at home, and they said in a couple of years you get the other
pension automatically the aged pension. When I was on an invalid
pension, with two teenagers at home, I got a letter that I was / 13

13
Caller ( continued)
allowed first $ 1 and then $ 2 a week to earn, and if I earned
more than $ 2 a week I would have to let them know immediately.
Now, that was funny. Being an invalid, of course, I accept that.
But now, because I am too old to be an invalid, Dr. Glen ( inaudible)
is goin รต to go hellLi for leather to let me earn $ 50 a week. If'
I had been able to earn any money, I would have never been on
the Social Security. It is only since 1975 that I have not been
able to work. Now, he is going to let me earn $ 50 a week, because
I am an ex-invalid. I am sure my neighbours I live next door
to a pensioner's unit the block I look at through my kitchen
window have six pensioners in it. Three of them are over
and the other three are between 76 and 80. They are all hell for
leather getting their running boots out to start earning $ 50 a week.
Prime Minister
I am not sure that that is going to be the best way to help people
such as-yourselves.
Caller Of course it is not.
Prime Minister
We have tried to do that in other ways, and I hope we have been
able to help a bit. If there is any particular aspect of your
own pension that you want me to look into, I would be very happy
to do so, but not over the air. I could get somebody to contact
you over the ' phone to take down any details.
Caller Oh, it is just not me. There are many of us. Just because we are
too old to be on an invalid pension, we can immediately go out
and start earning money.
Prime Minister
It is really not a very practical proposal that I think has
been put forward.
Caller-No, it's not. These are ( inaudible) indirect taxes. Do you know
I am on $ 79 a week, and have a 17 year old boy at home. He was
on the dole until last week. He has a job now.
Prime Minister
How is he going?
Caller Well he is not going very well because he has been trying to get
an apprenticeship with motor mechanics for the last 13 months and
he has done one year of tech college ( inaudible) / 14

14
Prime Minister-
I wonder would it be possible to take your name and address
and the name of your lad in case we can do anything about getting
an apprenticeship.
Caller-Oh, that would be terrific, yes, because he has ( inaudible)...
and everywhere.
Thompson We'll just get you to stay on the line if you would please
Mrs. Hegney.
Prime Minister
And give that information to the station. I will follow it.
up personally and I know Peter White will also.
Caller Thank you very much.
Thompson Thank you Mrs. Hegney. Peter, you are sitting there taking
this all in, I can see that.
Peter White
It's nice to see someone else in the hot seat. It's nice to
have such a heavyweight here taking it.
Thompson Prime Minister, another on the subject of pensions from Ballaxnbal(?)
we have Mr. Brunner on the line.
Caller I am not a pensioner, or holding my hand out for more pensions.
I was just harking back to the days of Bill Wentworth in 1972
when he proposed a scheme for eliminating the means test.. It
sounded very good at the time. You possibly remember the details.
Prime Minister
I do. Yes I do.
Caller-Mr. Whitlam killed all that-of course. And the Government, the
Liberal Party, has not taken it up since. I wondered if there was
any reason for not taking it, or I

15
Prime Minister
Yes. The reasons we have not taken it up is the overall cost
of it, the implications for taxes generally on people who are
already fairly highly taxed, and because we believe that the
welfare dollars that we spend ought to be more specifically
directed to those with a real need. You cannot do that if you
are going to say that somebody over 70 with $ 100,000 a year is
still entitled to the pension. So there is a means test.
It is the only way really that you can help to concentrate the
welfare dollars which are now very substantial on the people who
need the help most.
Caller Actually a feature of that scheme that seemed attractive to me
not that I am an expert, I just look from the outside was.
that in those days there was an age, a taxation allowance, where
people over 65 were not taxed on a level pretty well double
what others were. Like, the non-taxable income I think wars
$ 1,500 in those days and over 65 it was $ 3,000.
Prime Minister
Yes, there was an age-allowance, wasn't there?
Caller Yes, there was an age allowance. The-sfeature of this scheme to
me seemed to be that without a means test the person' s own income
put toget;--her with the pension would sort of produce its own means
test whereby it would become a taxable income over a period of time
and the tax coming back on these taxable incomes would eventual. ly
put a person in a position where he wouldn't want to get the
pension anyway because it would be up with the tax. So it sort
of evened itself out.
Prime Minister
Wasn't it Mr. Whitlam who abolished the age allowance also?
Caller He abolished the age allowance, yes. Has the Government considered
bringing -that sort of thing in again?
Prime Minister-
We have looked a number of times at specific measures that might
be provided to assist in this area, but we decided at the time of
the last Budget for example, that the money we had available we
should quite specifically spend in increasing the allowances for
dependent children or in the Budget before in increasing the
number of people eligible for the pensioner m * edical benefit card
for example, and the extra dollars we spent in those ways, which
is going quite specifically to areas of need. The age allowance
it was a very useful thing. Maybe the time will come when we
should look at it again.

16
Thompson Okay, Mr. Brenner, thank you very much indeed for joining us
on the open line this afternoon. We hope you have enjoyed
your discussion with the Prime Minister. Prime Minister, you
do have other pressing engagements I know, and a very busy
afternoon. I think we have been given the nod that you
are to move on. How are you feeling. Would you like:-to talk
to some more, if there is..
Prime Minister
I would be delighted to more..
Thompson Lovely, lovely." That is the sort of thing we like to hear..
Prime Minister
I am a captive. I often do what I am told to do.
Thomp son
-~ It is nice to have you make a decision for us.
On the line we have John Melvin of Karoul(?). Good afternoon
John. Caller Mr. Fraser, in the new elections or you are looking forward to
putting on a straight tax for the people, there is some comment
about under 9% is going to double our tax, but it is true that
this will give the worker a lot more incentive to get out and
do a lot more work?
Pr ime Minister,
Under the flat rate tax that Glen Sheil is proposing it is
not part of the Liberal Party proposal the bloke on about
$ 9,000 a year with a dependent spouse would have his tax increased
by about 130%, which is an enormous increase on somebody with,..
by today's standards, a relatively modest income. On the other
hand, the bloke on $ 50,000 ayear with a wife would have had his
income halved'. I-do not think that that would be really a very
fair proposition. I suppose in a sense you could say everyone
has got more incentive to work if we had no income tax, but that
is not real life* because people want hospitals, they want
schools, they want roads, and governments somehow or other have
to provide it. We do have to try and restrain Government
expenditure as much as possible, and that is the best way of
making way for realistic tax cuts which will help people and
families.
Caller Is it true that in West Germany they have brought in . incenti~ e
bonuses into enterprise so that the people who are given X amount
of dollars for their work also get an X amount of dollars for
a good job well done. / 17

17
Prime minister
There might be. I would not know the details of that. I
would be interested to look it up. But that is really like
either a productivity payment or a payment for producing an
extra amount, and some contracts and some people in Australia
are already paid on that sort of basis. It is not always
just a flat hourly or a flat weekly rate. A lot of people are
paid on the basis of what they produce. Then, . the more they
produce the more they earn in a week. I think that is a good
thing. Caller There was a time a few years ago that I was working in a serviLce
station and I took home, . for two weekends in a row, I took home
less money than I took home for working one weekend. Can you
see that that gives any incentive for a guy to go and work
two weekends.
Prime Minister
No, I cannot. ' And that is one of the reasons why we introduced
very substantial tax reforms four or five years ago, because
the tax scales that-operated when we came into government had
you 7 paying 45 in the dollar at $ 10,000 and 551 in the dollar
at $ 15,000. Now, you are on a standard rate of 32 up to
something over $ 17,000. This was to, as much as anything, to
try and do away with that particular problem that you were
talking about, because blokes were working overtime and they
were get-ting into the 55 in the dollar bracket. Who would have
incentive on that basis? But now many of those people are still
on the 321 rate. We would love to be able to reduce taxes
more, but it does get back to expenditure. Governments are a bit
like families. We have to balance our books.
Thompson John Melvin, thank you very much indeed. I hope that answers
your question. We do have other calls, so let's take the next.
one, coming up now Prime Minister, from Pottsville, we have
Mrs. Ray Mitchell. Good afternoon to you Mrs. Mitchell.
Caller!, Mr. Fraser, I represent a sea rescue organisation, and I
was wondering if you could inform us as to how I could go about
getting a grant for Government grant for our organisatior?
Prime Minister
You would basically have to go to the State authorities for
that, because for these purposes, we provide general revenue
funds to the States, and then they decide how the money ought
to be spent. Generally, the Premiers are all telling me ' give
us general purpose funds and we will decide how it is spent.
We know better for Queensland than you would from Canberra'.
I am happy to accept that sort of judgement, but it does mean
that they have got to set their own priorities. What sea-rescue
organisation are you part of, because they are terribly important
r and they do a wonderful job, they really do.

18
Caller Yes, I agree. It is Tweed Coast Sea Rescue. We are only a
very small organisation at the moment, and with this growing
area of ours we need a Government grant or some other way
of getting funds-to purchase equipment.
Prime Minister
Do you have a boat, and whatever.
Caller A very small one. This is the thing. We need a bigger one
at the moment. We have a rubber ducky at the moment.
Prime Minister
Well some of them -they can still do a pretty job.
Caller See our problem is shallow waters, that's why our members are
after a depth(?) boat at the moment.
Prime Minister
I think it would be a good thing to get on'-to your local
member. Caller Mr. Anthony.
Prime Minister
And get him to~ do what he can. He can speak to the NSW
authorities for you. If you like, I will take your name and
address,. here and when I am seeing Doug tomorrow I will let him
know that one of his constituents needs his help.
Caller Yes, that would be great, I really would appreciate it.
Prime Minister
Well, if you will give your name and address to the station,
I will be very happy to pass that on for you.
Caller
Thank you very much Mr. Fraser.
Thompson Thanks Mrs. Mitchell. . If you would like to stay on the line
I know our switchboard will take your name and address and
pass that on to the Prime Minister. ./ 19

6 -19
Thompson ( continued)
Prime Minister, we have been given the word that we must
let you go. It is to our great regret. our thanks to you
for joining us on 97MW this afternoon, but we do hope that you.
enjoy your stay on the Gold Coast and perhaps you don't have t~ o
go through the turmoil that we do with telephones while you
are here.
Prime Minister
Well, thank you very much indeed. I am aware of the problems
of telephones and I hope that Telecom's planning can fix the
difficulties. Well, iJt has just got to. But thank for the
opportunity of being able to speak with some of your listeners,
and thank you for the opportunity to try and answer some of
their questions. Maybe I can repeat it one day and come back
when Peter is not the candidate, when he is the member.
Thompson How lovely. Prime Minister, thank you very much indeed.
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Transcript 5514