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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 6779

NSW BRANCH ALP COUNTRY CONFERENCE, QUEANBEYAN, 10 NOVEMBER 1985

Photo of Hawke, Robert

Hawke, Robert

Period of Service: 11/03/1983 to 20/12/1991

More information about Hawke, Robert on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 10/11/1985

Release Type: Speech

Transcript ID: 6779

PRIME MINISTER
CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY EMBARGOED UNTIL DELIVERY
NSW BRANCH ALP COUNTRY CONFERENCE
QUEANBEYAN 10 NOVEMBER 1985
DELEGATES THE COUNTRY CONFERENCES OF THE NSW BRANCH OF THE LABOR PARTY
PROVIDES AN OPPORTUNITY TO EMPHASISE ONCE AGAIN THE CRUCIAL
ROLE WHICH LABOR'S STRENGTH IN THE BUSH HAS PLAYED
TRADITIONALLY IN AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, AND HAS CONTRIBUTED TO
OUR OVERALL STRENGTH IN NSW IN PARTICULAR.
THAT STRENGTH DERIVES FROM ALL OF YOU HERE TODAY THROUGH
YOUR ORGANISATIONS, THROUGH THE NSW BRANCH, AND THROUGH
SUCCESSIVE LEADERS OF THE PARTY WHO HAVE WORKED OVER THE
DECADES, FIRST OF ALL, TO ESTABLISH LABOR'S DOMINANCE AND
THEN TO PROTECT IT FROM THE FORCES OF CONSERVATISM.
FOR ALL THAT, I PLACE ON RECORD MY DEEP THANKS FOR THE
CONTRIBUTION WHICH YOUR EFFORTS HAVE M4ADE NOT ONLY TO THE
WELL BEING OF LABOR GOVERNMENTS, BUT TO THE CONTINUING
SUCCESS OF THE NSW LABOR GOVERNMENT IN PARTICULAR, AND ALSO
TO THE CONTINUING SUCCESS OF OUR LABOR GOVERNMENT IN
CANBERRA. IT IS CONVENTIONAL WISDOM AS JACK HALLAM DEMONSTRATED IN
1983 IN HIS BOOK, " THE UNTOLD STORY", THAT WHILE LABOR HOLDS
THE BUSH IT HOLDS GOVERNMENT IN NSW.
SIMILARLY, LABOR'S STRENGTH IN THE BUSH HAS A GREAT BEARING
ON OUR EXISTENCE IN CANBERRA.
THE REASONS FOR LABOR'S DOMINANCE OF THE BUSH IN NSW ARE
SIMPLE. QUITE APART FROM THE CREDIBILITY OF OUR POLICIES,
THE REASONS HAVE BEEN THE CHOICE AND STRENGTH OF CANDIDATES
SELECTED FOR COUNTRY SEATS, AND THE WILLINGNESS AND THE
VIGOUR OF SUCCESSIVE PARTY OFFICERS AND PARTY LEADERS TO
DEFEND AND EXTEND THAT DOMINANCE OVER THE YEARS.

IT BEGAN WITH BILL MCKELL IN THE 1940tS. MCKELL'S GREAT
METHOD WAS HIS PERSONAL SELECTION OF CANDIDATES IN CRITICAL
SEATS, THE LEGACY OF WHICH STAYED WITH US IN HUMAN FORM
RIGHT INTO THE 19701S WHEN TERRY SHEAHAN REPLACED HIS FATHER
BILL AT BURRINJUCK.
THE TRADITION WAS CARRIED ON BY JOE CAHILL IN THE 19501S AND
NOW ITS NEVILLE WRAN IN THE 1970' S AND THROUGHOUT THE 19801S
A PREMIER WHO HAS LEAD LABOR AND NSW THROUGH ALMOST
YEARS AND I BELIEVE WILL CONTINUE TO LEAD INTO 1988 AND
BEYOND. NEVILLE INITIATED THAT HIGHLY SUCCESSFUL PRACTICE OF TAKING
CABINET MEETINGS TO THE COUNTRY. ONLY LAST WEEK WE SAW
STATE CABINET MEETING IN ALBURY. THIS HAS DONE MUCH TO
BRING GOVERNMENT TO THE PEOPLE, TO HELP PEOPLE IDENTIFY WITH
GOVERNMENT. IT IS A PRACTICE I HAVE CONTINUED MYSELF WITH
OUR OWN CABINET MEETING IN TOWNSVILLE JUST A FEW WEEKS AGO.
WE IN CANBERRA HAVE ALSO BEEN BLESSED WITH OUTSTANDING
MEMBERS FROM RURAL NSW. I MENTION PARTICULARLY AS AN
EXAMPLE JIM SNOW, IN WHOSE ELECTORATE OF EDEN-MONARO YOU ARE
MEETING THIS WEEKEND.
NEITHER COULD I LET THIS OPPORTUNITY PASS WITHOUT PAYING
TRIBUTE TO OUR OUTSTANDING MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRY,
JOHN KERIN A MAN WHO HAS BEEN DESCRIBED BY HIS
CONSTITUENCY, FOR BETTER OR FOR WORSE, AS THE BOB HAWKE OF
THE BUSH.
IN THIS CONTEXT I AM ALSO VERY GLAD TO NOTE THE NEWS
CIRCULATING IN PARTY CIRCLES AT THE MOMENT THAT IT IS
LOOKING INCREASINGLY LIKELY THAT SOME OF LABOR'S STALWARTS
FROM THE BUSH IN THE NSW PARLIAMENT WILL BE STICKING AROUND
FOR A WHILE LONGER YET.
I REFER ESPECIALLY TO HAROLD M4AIR IN ALBURY AND BILL
MCCARTHY OF THE NORTHERN TABLELANDS.
DELEGATES WHEN THE AUSTRALIAN LABOR PARTY WAS ELECTED IN 1983, IT CAME
TO POWER AS A PARTY WITH A PROUD AND DISTINGUISHED RECORD OF
A PARTY WHICH GOVERNED FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS.
IN MY ADDRESS TODAY I WANT TO REFLECT ON THE SITUATION
CONFRONTING THE RURAL SECTOR AND TO OVERVIEW OUR RURAL
POLICIES POLICIES OFTEN NOT APPRECIATED BY THE COMMUNITY
AND POLICIES OFTEN OVERLOOKED BECAUSE OF OUR OUTSTANDING
SUCCESSES IN GENERAL ECONOMIC POLICY.

DELEGATES,
AS WAS MADE ABUNDANTLY CLEAR BY JOHN KERIN IN HIS ADDRESS TO
YOU YESTERDAY, THE GOVERNMENT RECOGNISES THE MAJOR
CONTRIBUTION THAT THE RURAL SECTOR MAKES TO THE AUSTRALIAN
ECONOMY. AND WE ARE VERY MUCH AWARE OF THE GRAVITY OF THE
SITUATION CURRENTLY BEING FACED BY MANY PEOPLE IN THE RURAL
COMMUNITY. AND SINCE WE ARE A GOVERNMENT FOR ALL
AUSTRALIANS, WE ARE TACKLING, AS A HIGH PRIORITY, THE
CURRENT PROBLEMS OF THE RURAL COMMUNITY.
THE MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRY, JOHN KERIN, AND I HAVE
MET WITH RURAL SECTOR REPRESENTATIVES ON MANY OCCASIONS TO
DISCUSS ISSUES THAT ARE OF GREAT CONCERN BOTH TO THEM AND TO
THE GOVERNMENT. ONE OF THE PRINCIPAL MATTERS ADDRESSED AT
THOSE MEETINGS HAS BEEN THE CONTINUING BLEAK OUTLOOK FOR
MANY COMMODITIES DUE TO THE WEAKNESS OF WORLD MARKETS.
THE SITUATION OF DECLINE IN NET REAL FARM PRODUCTION
IDENTIFIED BY THE BUREAU OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS AND THE
BUREAU'S EVIDENCE OF CONTINUING PRESSURE ON FARM INCOMES IS
A MATTER OF CONTINUING CONCERN FOR THE GOVERNMENT. WE ARE
AWARE THAT THE PRICE-COST SQUEEZE BEING FELT BY MANY IN THE
RURAL COMMUNITY IS POSING A REAL THREAT TO THE LIVELIHOOD OF
MANY FARMERS AND HAS LED TO A SHARP DECLINE IN THE REAL NET
VALUE OF RURAL PRODUCTION.
RECOGNISING THESE PRESSURES THE GOVERNMENT IN THE LAST
BUDGET HAS PROVIDED A SIGNIFICANT ASSISTANCE PACKAGE FOR THE
FARM SECTOR IN WHAT WAS OTHERWISE A VERY TIGHT BUDGETARY
SITUATION.
WE THEN AGREED TO PROVIDE A FULL REBATE OF THE EXCISE ON
DIESEL USED FOR ELIGIBLE PRIMARY PRODUCTION, SAVING FARMERS
2.4 CENTS PER LITRE FOR THEIR DIESEL FUEL. THIS MAKES
PRIMARY PRODUCERS THE ONLY GROUP IN THE COMMUNITY TO RECEIVE
A FULL REBATE OF DIESEL EXCISE.
IN THE BUDGET WE ALSO ANNOUNCED THAT THE REMAINING DUTIES ON
IMPORTED GRAIN HARVESTERS WOULD BE REMOVED, AND THAT AN
EQUIVALENT LEVEL OF ASSISTANCE BY WAY OF A BOUNTY WOULD BE
PROVIDED TO LOCAL MANUFACTURERS. THIS DECISION TOOK EFFECT
FROM 21 AUGUST 1985; AS A RESULT, LEADING MANUFACTURERS HAVE
ALREADY REDUCED THE PRICES OF THEIR GRAIN HARVESTERS.
TAKEN TOGETHER THE FULL REBATE ON DIESEL FUEL AND THE
REMOVAL OF THE DUTIES ON GRAIN HARVESTERS WILL SAVE FARMERS
ABOUT $ 46 MILLION IN A FULL YEAR.
THE GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO TAKEN POSITIVE STEPS TO ASSIST
SPECIFIC INDUSTRIES, FOR EXAMPLE

THE MEAT AND LIVE-STOCK INDUSTRY WILL RECEIVE $ 7 M1 OVER
THE NEXT 4 YEARS, TO ASSIST INNOVATION IN THE MARKETING
OF MEAT, PARTICULARLY IN EXPORT MARKETS. THOSE FUNDS
WILL BE USED TO ENCOURAGE THE FURTHER USE OF OBJECTIVE
MEAT EXPORT TRADE DESCRIPTIONS, LONGER TERM EXPORT
MARKET STUDIES, AND OTHER PROJECTS WHICH WILL LEAD TO
THE ADOPTION OF A NATIONAL MEAT AND LIVESTOCK TRADING
LANGUAGE, WHICH IS NECESSARY FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF A
COMPUTER ASSISTED LIVESTOCK MARKETING SYSTEM.
WE HAVE ALSO INCREASED BY $ 3.6 M THE AMOUNT OF FUNDS
MADE AVAILABLE IN 1985/ 86 FOR WOOL PROMOTION. THE
PRESENT FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS WERE INTRODUCED IN 1984 FOR
A 5 YEAR PERIOD AND GUARANTEE THAT THE GOVERNMENT WILL
PROVIDE 1.2% OF THE GROSS VALUE OF THE AUSTRALIAN WOOL
CLIP. THIS YEAR'S CONTRIBUTION IS SOME 14% HIGHER THAN
LAST YEAR'S, AND IS ALMOST 50% UP ON THE $ 20M ALLOCATED
IN EACH OF THE FOUR YEARS PRECEDING THAT.
THESE ARE BUT TWO EXAMPLES OF OUR SPECIFIC MEASURES. THE
GOVERNMENT HAS ALSO PUT FORWARD MAJOR PROPOSALS FOR THE
RESTRUCTURING OF THE SUGAR AND DAIRY INDUSTRIES. BOTH THESE
INDUSTRIES ARE OF CRITICAL IMPORTANCE TO AUSTRALIA'S
ECONOMIC AND TRADING PERFORMANCE.
WE HAVE ALSO MADE SIGNIFICANT MOVES TO ADDRESS THE
PARTICULAR REQUIREMENTS OF THE WHEAT INDUSTRY. APART FROM
THE RESTRUCTURING OF THE WHEAT BOARD WE HAVE REGISTERED
STRONGLY OUR CONCERNS WITH EUROPEAN SUBSIDIZATION POLICY AND
WITH THE IMPLICATIONS OF THE AMERICAN ENHANCEMENT PROGRAM.
WE ARE PLEASED TO SEE THAT THE SUBSIDY PROBLEM IS NOW TO BE
ADDRESSED IN THE MULTILATERAL CONTEXT OF THE GATT. THIS IS
WHERE SUCH ISSUES SHOULD BE TACKLED AND RESOLVED.
OF COURSE THE GOVERNMENT'S CONTRIBUTION TO THE RURAL ECONOMY
IS NOT LIMITED TO THE DIRECT MEASURES THAT I HAVE JUST
DESCRIBED. MOST PEOPLE WOULD AGREE THAT THEY ARE MUCH
BETTER OFF IN A PERIOD OF LOW INFLATION THAN WHEN PRICES ARE
RAPIDLY RISING, AND IT IS IN THIS GENERAL AREA OF ECONOMIC
MANAGEMENT THAT THE GOVERNMENT HAS BEEN MOST EFFECTIVE ON
BEHALF OF THE PRIMARY PRODUCER. THE GOVERNMENT'S POLICIES
OF SOUND ECONOMIC MANAGEMENT ARE WORKING TO THE BENEFITS OF
RURAL INDUSTRIES: THEY ARE CONTAINING INFLATION
THEY ARE REDUCING UNEMPLOYMENT
AND THEY WILL BE MAINTAINING THE ECONOMIC GROWTH WE
HAVE BEEN EXPERIENCING, FOR A THIRD SUCCESSIVE
YEAR.
THE GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINED TO CONTINUE THESE POLICIES, AND
IS DETERMINED TO ENSURE THAT ALL AUSTRALIANS CAN SHARE IN
THE REAL BENEFITS WHICH WILL FLOW FROM THEM.

DELEGATES, IT'S ALMOST REDUNDANT TO SAY THAT THERE IS A NEW MILITANCY
IN THE BUSH. FARMERS ARE CONCERNED OR FRIGHTENED ABOUT THE
THREAT TO THEIR LIVELIHOOD FACED BY SHRINKING MARKETS. AS
WELL, THEY ARE NOW FEELING THE CONSEQUENCES OF DECADES OF
SHORT-TERM, QUICK FIX PALLIATIVES APPLIED TO OUR FARMING
SECTOR. THE LONGER-TERM, FUNDAMENTAL PROBLEMS WERE IGNORED,
AS HAS NOW BECOME ONLY TOO APPARENT, AND AS THE NATIONAL
FARMERS' FEDERATION HAVE POINTED OUT TO THE NATIONAL PARTY.
FARM COSTS, I POINT OUT, HAVERISEN ABOUT 6% A YEAR SINCE WE
CAME INTO OFFICE. THEY ROSE BY AROUND 12% A YEAR UNDER THE
CONSERVATIVES. THE ACCUMULATIVE EFFECT OF THAT, JUXTAPOSED
TO THE WORLD TRADING SITUATION, IS WHAT IS AFFECTING FARMERS
INCOMES AT PRESENT.
BUT MORE THAN THAT ECONOMIC SITUATION, FARMERS ARE IN
TURMOIL OVER THE DOMESTIC POLITICAL SITUATION. QUITE
RIGHTLY, THEY FEEL BETRAYED BY THE NATIONAL PARTY WHICH HAS
CLAIMED TO REPRESENT THEM FOR SO LONG BUT WHICH, AS I HAVE
ALREADY SAID, LET THEM DOWN SO BADLY. THE NATIONAL PARTY
FAILED THEM IN GOVERNMENT AND IT IS FAILING THEM IN
OPPOSITION. BUT JUST WHAT DOES THE NATIONAL PARTY STAND FOR? WHERE DO
THEY STAND ON PRIVATISATION, ON STRUCTURAL CHANGE, ON
DEREGULATION? IS THEIR POSITION THE SAME AS THE LIBERALS?
DOES IAN SINCLAIR AND HIS COUNTRY PARTY CRONIES WANT TO SELL
OFF: TELECOM TAA
THE AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL LINE
AUSSAT THE AUTHORITY ADMINISTERING AUSTRALIA'S
DOMESTIC SATELLITE
THE HEALTH INSURANCE COMMISSION
THE AUSTRALIAN INDUSTRY DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION,
THE HOUSING LOANS INSURANCE CORPORATION,
THE COMMONWEALTH BANK AND
THE PIPELINE AUTHORITY
THE LIBERALS AND THE NAITONAL PARTY ARE IGNORING IN THE
IDEOLOGICAL STANCE THEY ARE TAKING ON THIS ISSUE THE SOCIAL
COSTS NECESSARILY ABSORBED BY OUR PUBLIC CORPORATIONS. THEY
WOULD EMBARK ON AN INDISCRIMINATE ATTACK ON A WHOLE RANGE OF
SERVICES GENERALLY REGARDED AS BASIC TO THE QUALITY OF
AUSTRALIAN LIFE AND ESSENTIAL TO RURAL AUSTRALIA.

ALL THE CONSERVATIVES REALLY WANT TO DO IS TO SELL OFF THE
PROFITABLE AREAS OF GOVERNMENT ACTIVITY, WHICH CONTRIBUTE TO
PUBLIC REVENUE, LEAVING EVEN HEAVIER BURDENS ON TAXPAYERS TO
PICK UP THE SLACK TO KEEP ESSENTIAL GOVERNMENT SERVICES
OPERATING. IN REALITY, THEY WANT TO IMPOSE EVEN GREATER
COSTS ON THE RURAL PEOPLE THE PEOPLE FROM YOUR TOWNS AND
CITIES WHO DEPEND SO MUCH ON TELECOM, AUSTRALIA POST, TAA,
THE ABC, THE COMMONWEALTH BANK, TO NAME BUT A FEW OF OUR
MAJOR NATIONAL GOVERNMENT ORGAN ISATIONS.
WE CERTAINLY DO KNOW WHERE THEY STOOD IN THE NOW DISCREDITED
FRASER GOVERNMENT. MESSERS SINCLAIR AND HUNT ALONG WITH
NIXON STAND CONDEMNED FOR THEIR ROLE IN THAT GOVERNMENT
WHICH, FOR EXAMPLE, CUT WOOL PROMOTION SPENDING, TRIED TO
SELL OFF THE WOOL TESTING AUTHORITY, HALVED THE INTEREST
RATE SUBSIDY FOR THE AUSTRALIAN WHEAT BOARD AND REACTED
TARDILY TO THE NEEDS OF FARMERS DURING THE DROUGHT.
THE LITANY OF THEIR FAILURES AND LACK OF CONCERN FOR FARMING
INTERESTS WAS ONLY EXCEEDED DURING THAT PERIOD BY THE
LIBERALS. DURING THOSE YEARS THE LIBERALS MADE NO PRETENCE OF BEING
INTERESTED IN RURAL OR FARM POLICY AND ALL THEY CAN NOW
PROMISE FOR THE FARM SECTOR IS DEREGULATION AND
PRIVATI SATION.
BOTH THE LIBERAL AND NATIONAL PARTIES HAVE IN THE PAST TAKEN
THE RURAL VOTE SO MUCH FOR GRANTED THAT INAPPROPRIATE
POLICIES TO MEET SHORT TERM POLITICAL NEEDS HAVE BEEN
IMPLEMENTED. THE BIGGEST COSTS TO THE FARM SECTOR ARE THE
RESULT OF A SECONDARY INDUSTRY PROTECTION AND, LATELY, FUEL.
FUEL PRICES ROSE ON AN INDEXED BASIS BY A STAGGERING 40%
YES 40% IN 1979-80 COMPARED TO 8% THIS YEAR WITHOUT A
SQUEAK FROM THOSE WHO CLAIMED TO REPRESENT THEM POLITICALLY.
UNLESS THE NATIONAL PARTY SAYS IT IS GOING TO WIPE OUT THE
IMPORT PARITY PRICING POLICY IT INTRODUCED, THE FLOAT OF THE
AUSTRALIAN DOLLAR WHICH IT HAD NO OPINION ABOUT AND
SECONDARY INDUSTRY PROTECTION WHICH IT FOSTERED, ALL ITS
BLEATS ABOUT FARM COSTS ARE MERE HUMBUG.
DELEGATES, THE TRADITIONAL STRENGTH OF LABOR IN COUNTRY NSW IS ONE OF
THE FOUNDATIONS UPON WHICH IS BASED THE STABILITY OF OUR
GOVERNMENT, BOTH IN MACQUARIE STREET AND IN CANBERRA.
I KNOW THERE IS NO NEED TO TELL YOU OF THE IMPORTANCE OF
MAINTAINING THIS STRENGTH THROUGH FUTURE ELECTIONS. BUT
NEVER FORGET THAT IT IS ONLY THROUGH YOUR EFFORTS COMBINED
THROUGH OUR EFFORTS IN MACQUARIE STREET AND IN CANBERRA THAT
WE CAN STAVE OFF THE CHALLENGE TO OUR STABILITY BY THE
CONSERVATIVE FORCES.

I 7
WHAT THIS REQUIRES IS AN AWARENESS BY YOU AND ALL FELLOW
PARTY MEMBERS AND THROUGH YOU, AN AWARENESS BY THE PEOPLE
AT LARGE OF WHAT WE HAVE DONE FOR THE RURAL SECTOR AND
WHAT WE SHALL CONTINUE TO DO AND OF HOW ECONOMIC GROWTH IS
IMPROVING LIVING STANDARDS AND PRODUCING HIGHER PROSPERITY
FOR ALL AUSTRALIANS.
DELEGATES, OUR VISION FOR THE FUTURE IS ONE WHICH RECOGNISES,
RATIONALLY AND OBJECTIVELY, THE CHALLENGES, THE PROBLEMS,
THE DIFFICULTIES, AS WELL AS THE GREAT OPPORTUNITIES, WHICH
WE ALL FACE TOGETHER IN THIS DECADE AND BEYOND.
IT IS A VISION FOR A NATION GROWING STRONGER YEAR BY YEAR BY
THE WISE AND FULL USE OF ITS RICH HUMAN AND MATERIAL
RESOURCES, AS A PARTNER IN THE WORLD'S MOST DYNAMIC ECONOMIC
REGION, FOR A NATION BECOMING YEAR BY YEAR MORE EQUITABLE
AND MORE FAIR, IN WHICH TRUE EQUALITY OF OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL
IS NO MERE SLOGAN BUT A LIVING REALITY AND FOR A NATION
CONSTRUCTIVELY, PERSISTENTLY, UNREMITTINGLY CONTRIBUTING TO
THE SUPREME OBJECTIVE OF A WORLD AND A REGION AT PEACE, FREE
FROM THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR HOLOCAUST.
IT IS A VISION IN WHICH YOU AND YOUR BRANCHES' CONTRIBUTIONS
ARE VITAL VITAL TO THE CREATION OF AN AUSTRALIAN SOCIETY
BASED ON FREEDOM, JUSTICE, EQUITY, AND A SOCIETY IN WHICH WE
ARE SECURE AND PEACEFUL.
I COMMEND YOUR EFFORTS TO DATE AND THE FEDERAL AND STATE
GOVERNMENTS LOOK FORWARD TO YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT.

Transcript 6779