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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6024


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: 16/02/1983

Release Type: Press Conference

Transcript ID: 6024

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Australian Labor Party comes forward
with a policy that would in a sense have made Mr Whitlam appear
like a scrooge because it's $ 2,750 million that's additional
spending and as always, when the Labor Party says they're
going to spend, spend, spend, they don't really say where the
money is going to come from, Mr K( eating said they could get
it from the ban" s but how get it from the banks? By putting
up interest rates and damaging small businesses and home buyers
and everyone else who is dependent upon bank finance or just by
passing some law so they could direct the banks to invest in
government-nominated exercises?
That, would be extraordinarily damaging
for many people, many small businesses and home builders and
home buyers right throughout the country. Labor is
thoroughly deceitful in its approach.
if it's just a question of printing money, that adds to inflation
as indeed the Labor programs always have. Mr Whitlam increas; ed
expenditure by 46% in one of his years. I'm told it's Mr Hawke's
ambition to try and exceed that particular record. well if that
ever happened, it would be doing something that would be
enormously damaging to Australia and all Australian families.
We're still left with a policy without a policy. we had an
economic policy last ' week which was meaningless because it was
barren. There was nothing in it except the ultimate expendituire
figure and an admission that their policies would cause a balance
of payments crisis. But now we have a policy document but we stil]
don't have that prices and incomes policy. I would have thought
that in developing a prices and incomes policy for Australians,
you would go to a country which in many ways is most like Australia
namely the United Kingdom and see how the experience of the prices
and incomes policies had worked in the United Kingdom. Blut in
fact Mr Hawke denied on a television program that there had been
such a policy in the United Kingdom and then it was left to the
ex-British Labor Minister who had been responsible for administering
that policy to say Mr Hawke did not know what he was taik) i. n9 about.
But again the Australian public are asked to buy a policy with it~ s
lynch-pin totally and absolutely missing and when it does appear
it will be tinsel without anything underneath the wrapping paper.
And I believe that these policies have been very hurriedly put
together. I don't know how much Mr Hayden has had to do with it
but I find it hard to see how he could support the spending
proposals that Labor has put forward. Because those proposals;

have and will guarantee that Labor will lose this election
on March
But on the prices and incomes policy, since it has been so
important to their general policy, since Mr Hawke has been
responsible for developing that policy with the trade unions
one would at least thought he knew what he was talking about.
And it was here on a television program and the response from
Mrs Williams, Mrs Shirley Williams in the United Kingdom, it
is plain that he hadn't done his homework and did not know
what in fact he was talking about.
I'm quite certain that people will understand that the total
expenditure proposals that Labor is putting forward or
reductions in revenue that includes the tax point will mean
great damage and harm to Australia and Australian families.
Because they know the big spending approach can't work. It
can't work in your own family expenditure. The family can't
spend more than they have and certainly not for more than a
very short period and the same would go with the kind of
policies that Mr Hawke is trying to espouse.
But there's one other element of policy which I have before me
on page 32 where Mr Hawke tries a massive confidence trick where
he says the essential elements of Australian defence and foreign
policy have taken on a policy of bipartisanship inconceivable
before then. Well where is the bipartisanship? In supporting the
force in the Sinai? Mr Hawke has said that force is to be
withdrawn irrespective of its consequences on the rest of the
force, irrespective of the fact that it was plainly because of
the essential nature of the task our people undertake
immense difficulties for the other members of the force and
maybe for the continuity of the force itself. And if you
remember what the Labor Party has said about Afghanistan, if
you remember what they said about ANZUS, how can they say that the
essential elements of foreign policy are the same. Because
they quite bluntly are not. Mr Hawke, unless there are a few
R. J. Hawke's in the country, should be challenged as to why he
signed that document calling for an end to ANZUS some little
while ago and calling for a non-aligned foreign policy.
He's changed policies many times through the ten days of this
election. Which Mr Hawke should be believed?
Question: ( inaudible)
Mr Fraser
We cut taxes substantially in the last budget. Those tax cuts
are flowing through and what people are going to have to focus on
are the total expenditure programs of the Australian Labor
Party on their figures. It has been so vague up to the
point where nobody can check whether their figures were valid
or not and it's just not on. The people of Australia are
not going to fall for this three card trick.
Question on the proposed referendum in the industrial relations area,
what enforcement provisions would be foreseen in the essentl. a
services legislation?

Mr Fraser
Well, there are a variety of approaches that can be adopted f017
that. Many of them are on the statute books as you know.
But the important feature would be to enable it to give the
Arbitration Commission itself power to secure the agreement
of its own awards and determinations.
Question But when would the government be able to invoke such
Mr Fraser
At the times it was necessary to protect the people of
Australia. We have all seen on many occasions times when
Australian unions have done a great deal of damage to Australia
and to Australian industries. And it is time it stopped.
Question ( inaudible)
Mr Fr~ aser
No. We're talking about industries where the dispute has gone
beyond state boundaries.
Question Your visit to the Kirby factory this morning. Does that indicate
a Prime Ministerial seal of approval for the wage cuts that
that company has put on, and would you be suggesting or even
encouraging firms to take wage cuts, or to put wage cuts into action.
Mr Fraser
You have an example there of a firm of employees working together,
to see that the firm can survive, to see that they can go on
producing. That is to be commended. Our policy is for the
wage pause and for the maintenance of the wage pause. That
particular company and its employees made a decision to go further,
that's their decision made in the light of the economic
circumstances of the firm. But the important thing about it
was the determination of management and employees to work together
to overcome difficulties. That is what should be commended.
In relation to BHP I put to Neville Wran and to Mr B~ annon 1a!
week that we ought to be discussing together, the three governmn: t,
what could be done to help improve industrial relations Cli. TnatC
in the steel industry because it has not been goo'i... ( inaudihle).
of unions that BHP have to deal with. Now while Mr Bannon and
Mr Wran both believe that sort of examination is necessary, they
weren't prepared to enter into consultation. Now that again puts
at risk the credibility of the Labor slogan " working together"
because in that particular instance neither Mr Wran nor Mr Baninon
were prepared to work together to consult withi the Commnonwealth
at this point as to what improvements in industrial relations
might be introduced into the steel industry. In those

consultations we would explore the degree of acgreemnent between~
governments and then you would move out for discussions with
other people. They won't even make the first step.

Transcript 6024