PM Transcripts

Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 8607


Photo of Keating, Paul

Keating, Paul

Period of Service: 20/12/1991 to 11/03/1996

More information about Keating, Paul on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 05/08/1992

Release Type: Interview

Transcript ID: 8607

TEL: 5. Aug. 92 13: 49 No. 01 V~ O/
IT: The Prime Minister is with me now, and welcome to Tasmania Paul Keating.
PM: Thank you very much, Judy, it's nice to be here.
JT: You lose marks for being late around here, you know.
PM: Well, as I just said to you, if you are an announcer and you're late you don't come
back, but if you're the Prime Minister and you're late, you can get away with it.
Fr: Well I don't know about that. First question today to you, and I think I'll go right
into It because therc are a number of things I want to put to you, and I hope you
can stay with us for the half hour, can you?
PM: I can) yes.
JT: Terrific. Increase in the -Medicare levy, is that the first move to taking over all
health insurance in Australia?
PM: Well that's speculation. This time at each year before the Budget there is always
speculation about Budget measures. But there is a bit of focus on Medicare now,
and It's because the Opposition propose to force people into private insurance.
Whereas this scheme has worked very well now for just on a decade, all
Australians can get medical protection regardless of income. and we have been at
pains over the years to keep the scheme relevant and good, but an increase in the
levy Is at this stage just simply speculation.
iT: Just speculation, no more substance to it than that?

TEL: 5. Aug. 92 13: 49 No. 013 R. 02/.
FM: Well, as I said to you, every time this year we always get asked about Budget
IT: Well is it going to happen?
PM: The only reply I can give you is that there is no point in mne speculating about
rumoured Budget measures.
IT: Yes, but you know about it already. Is there, just to extrapolate that ther, even
further, is there a plan to take over all health insurance in Australia?
PM: No, there's never been a plan to take over all health insurance in Australia. We let
Australians privately insure if they choose, but the great majority don't because
Medicare covers them for medical and hospital protection. And one of the things
which people do is insure themselves privately, for private hospitals or private
treatment in hospitals, quite often when they don't have to. And I think the one
point to get across about that is that many people arc privately insured and they
don't have to bc.
JT: Still on health, on June 2 the AMA wrote to you asking if you'll establish a
national task force to look at and act on the health effects of the uncmploye. Now
you haven't responded to that, why?
PM: Well, I mean all sorts of bodies write to us about all sorts of things.
IT: It's a pretty Important issue right now.
PM: Oh yes, but governments can't spring to attention the moment some lobby group
writes to you about something. I've got no doubt that unemployment produces
stress amongst sonic people.
IT: Can I give you sonmc of the figures then, that were collected by the Institute of
Health and Welfare: 17 per cent higher death rates for unemployed males; 50 per
cent higher number of visits to the doctor if you'rc unemployed; 37 pcr cent higher
number of admissions to hospital if you're unemployed; 3.6 times more likely to
have a serious stress-rclated illness if you're unemployed, but you haven't even
addressed that letter from the AMA.
PM:. The way to address the problem is to get people back to work. And we've
addressed it in a substantial way because there's about 120,000yung poplec,
15-19, who are unemployed. When I announced the Youth Package a week ago I
announced 170,000 places, that is an additional number of places to bring the total
to 170,000. So there are 170,000 places in those programs for 120,000 people. So
the likelihood is that most young people who wish to have training or some job
experiene can and will now be taken up under those schemes. So, if we're going

T5EL.: Aug. 92 13: 49 No. 013 P. 03/
to the AMA's concern at source, It is to actually give young people job
IT: Most of these figures, though, would relate to people perhaps who have taken
redundancies, thirties, forties, fifties, can't get back into the workforce.
PM: I think you're talking about the young unemployed, generally.
JT: No, this is overall, these are the overall figures. I mean you're not going to get a
high death rate with people who are very young. I mean, stress-related illnesses
that come with being out of work in your forties and fifties, it's pretty tough then.
PM: Absolutely, absolutely. But in the first instance, young people are a real problem
and we've tried to deal with those by simply creating enough places in the labour
market pM1onams to take thenm up, and to train them, and to push home the skilled
work transition. For mature aged people, we've also got now a substantial program
of labour market support. We turn through about 400,000 Australians through
those programs a year. And, as I said, we're looking at those in the Budget as well
to see how we can Improve them so that we may be able to more. As well as that,
the primary inmprovemenh would bc a discernible pick up in employment in the
economy, that starts to create opportunities for people. But there's no doubt, I
think, that people do lose self estccni and they worry.
JT, Do you blame them?
PM: No, not at all. And that's why thc quicker we get back to growth the better. But
the only way to long tcrm jobs is simply growth. Now the economy is growing
now. We've had 1.5 per cent growth for the three quarters of the last financial
year. We're just waiting now on the Junc Quarter accounts, so that will give us a
picture for the full year to June, that's last financial year. And I think it will
probably bc growing somewhere around 1.7 2 per cent. That being the ease,
we're growing as fast or faster than West European economies. And in the coming
year, this is the finiancial year we're now in, we expect to be growing of the order
of about 4 per cent. Now that being the case, we'll actually be growing faster than
the United States, Western Europe, Japan, and most other places. But the problem
with a lot of this is that you get'more output for fewer people. In other words, in
the first phase of a recovery there is more productivity, the system is more
iT: And fewer jobs,
PM: -And fewer jobs. So, there's a lag before employment catches up again with the
growth. That's the position we're In now, we're living through that lag.
IT: OK, just still on health, though, and just a quick aside really, but why have you
doubled the price of the pill for pensioners?

TEL: 5. Aug. 92 13: 49 No. 013 R. 04/.
PM: Which pill?
iT: ' Me contraceptivc Dill.
PM: rye got no Idea about it. 11ms things are donc by the National Health and
Medical Research Council.
JT': $ 2.60 to $ 5.08, it's doubled in price.
PM: Well, in the end drugs have somc reflection of their cost. We have a free list of
drg for pensioners, that Is a diminished price way below the commercial price.
Of course, everyone argues that every drug that ever came Into existence should be
on that list. What goes on that list is recommended to the government by I think
the National Health and Medical Research Council.
IT: OK. Getting onto wider issues, Joan Kirncr is she going to win the next election?
PM: Well I don't know, but we'll soon see though, won't we?
IT: Do you think she's got a chance?
PM: She's got a battle, I think she knows that. But she's doing her best.
JT:. What support are you giving her, though? I mean she's not too happy about fiscal
equalisation remaining, is she?
PM: Yes, she kicked a goal at thc Premiers' Conference. She said that the money that
was being paid to Tasmania, South Australia, and Western Australia was unfair on
Victoria. That the reason fiscal cqualisation in part was there was because New
South Wales and Victoria enjoy the protection of the tariff. As the tariff has come
down, the argument therefore for fiscal equalisation had enieliarated, and therefore
It was unfair that Victoria should subsidisc everybody else to the tune that they
were now doing. We said, wcll there is no doubt that the formula, as Is now
constructed, is working to increase the payments out of Victoria and New South
Wales, and We'll examine it. So we've now got a rcvicw on the methodology, not
the principle because I actually believe in the principlc of fiscal equalisation.
JT:. As you said yesterday, Tasi is not miqsing out. It's a good thing to say while you're
in Tasis, isn't it?
PM: Well, I've spent 8 years paying the chequcs over, so I did put my money where my
mouth was as far as Tasmania was concerned. But, think the principlc is right,
that people in the outlying States, outlying from the main population centres,
should have the opportunity of services comparable with those that you obtain in
New South Wales and Victoria. Joan Kirnr's complaint is that the formula, the

TEL: 5. Aug. 92 13: 49 NO. 013
current methodology is exacerbating the trend when in fact Victoria's capacity to
pay Is weakening. That's fair enoughi, so we're examining that.
JT: Still when you look at what Joan Kirnier, she may miss out this time, she may go
down In a scivaming heap after this election. What will that do to you, will that
have any bearing whatsoever on when you go to an election?
PM: No, we'll make our mind up. I think the public want value from these Parliaments,
they don't want us all going carly, so to speak. And we've got plenty to do, and
we've been trying to do It as quickly as we can and as effectively as we can, and
we'll just keep doing that. There are a number of State elections that are going to
be on, and that's just the coincidence of Parliamentary terms expiring.
JT: Any likelihood of going in March?
PM: T7here's no point In me speculating about election dates either, it's just pointless.
IT: The climate would be right though, wouldn't it? It's summer, everybody feels
pretty good, school leavcrs figures havcn't come out yet.
PM: It's still summery in most of Australia way past March.
JT:. Not down here it's not. Any chance of it being March, though, early in thc year?
PM: No, T don't think so. My thinking would be we would take the Parliament to its
logical conclusion, and we'vc done that a number of times. I mean it's a very
chequcred history, Australian Parliaments, they don't run their full three years
often but It Just depends on the conditions.
iT: Well, conditions are pretty grim, it's going to be tough for you to go any time, isn't
PM:. But the economy is picking up, growth is coming through.
JT. You're going to Bernie later today, thcre's been a suggestion that if you ease back
on tariffs for APPM, because tariff cuts alone between 1989-1997 will cost APPM
more than $ 300 million, that's $ 6U million a year. Now, is there any way of giving
Bcrnie a break, because it's on its knees at the moment?
PM: I think everybody, the whole country has paid through the nose with tariffs. I
mean, people forget that. And we've reduced tariffs since 1998, gradually. To
give an example, a standard Falcon car today is $ 23,000, it would have been
$ 33,000 had the tariff cuts not come through. Tariffs are basically a tax on
ordinary Australians. In the public dcbate it's not as brutally understood as that.
It's essentially a tax everyone pays for the protection of these industries. Now, to

TEL: 5. Rug. 92 13: 49 No. 013 P
make Australia more competitive we have reduced It. But I shouldn't believe that
APPM's problems are tariff problems, or tariff problems exclusively.
iT: $ 600 million, though, that could go Into buying quite a lot of plant and equipment.
PM: Well, who's number is that? That's their number. The fact of the matter is, some
of these companies have been not as well managed as they should have been, not
as productive as they should have been, and they're now making productivity
changes as the market requires them to make, and a simple explanation that this is
all because of tariff changes Is, I don't think, correct.
JT: Where then has APPM gone wrong in Bernie?
PM: I don't know, but Australian Newsprint Mills is reforming itself just In the same
way as APPM is required to reform itself, but without the brouhaha and the
heartache which has accompanied changes at APPM. So, I mean they're both
doing the samec thing, one's doing it obviously more successfully than the other.
JT: You've given tariff breaks, though, for the sugar industry and other industries like
that. Isn't there a chane that just to help out thc people in Bernie, that this time
APPM needs a break?
PM: We're not dispensing tariff breaks, but what wc're not doing is taking tariffs to
zero. What my friend Dr l-ewson is about is taking the whole structure to zero.
Now we've still got in there 35 per cent, even at the end points, and that's 1997,
per cent for clothing, textile and footwear, 15 for motor cars, 5 for general
manufacturing. He is arguing for zero for everything. So I don't think that for
Instance, a car Industry would survive at zero, it will survive at 15, sections of
clothing, textile and footwear, which is well represented in this State, won't
survive at zero but may survive at 20, 15 and 35, and the end point on papcr
products is also not zero, I'm not sure what it Is but it's not zero. Can I just say that
the largest change In tariffs in the last year in the phase downs came in clothing,
textile and footwear. It changed by 3 per cent. But the exchange rate has
depreciatcd this year by 8 per cent. So the protection afforded by the exchange
rate, that is when the exchange rate depreciates then it adds extra protection, the
protection afforded by the exchange rate changed at 8 per cent is more than 2 1/ 2
times the reduction In the tariff. So complaints by paper manufacturers that at the
moment the tariff is actually hurting them is nonsense because the exchange rate is
more than compensating for a tariff change.
IT: OK, so you're going to Bernie today empty handed?
PM, Well I'm not going out there to dispense goodies, no.
JT: So there will be no relief at all for Bcrnie, no special dispensation, nothing that you
can do for Bernie?

TEL: 5. Aug. 92 13: 49 No. 013 P. 07,
FM: It's not a matter of relief, rm just visiting the town. As far as I know the company
has said that to get to a level of competitiveness thcy believe Is important, they
think a number of people, a couple of hundred people have got to be either over
time not replaced..
JT: 400, actually, 400 in a year.
PM: Well they said 400, which would either be through non replacement or
redundancies, or maybe that number doesn't need to go if in some way they can
run the plant more productively. So obviously think there is a point of discussion
there for the employers and the unions about how that plant can run more
productively to obviate the need for people to leave,
IT: 0OC, so Bernie can expect an empty handed PM to visit today?
PM: I don't think Prime Ministers should be running around writing cheques out. I
mean, wandering around saying what Is your problcem, please sit down and I'll
write you a cheque. That's not the way goverrnent in this country runs.
if: So you won't give $ 4 million to a footy club?
PM: Well, leavc that to one side, and thc fact is one has to, I think as a government,
articulate rational, sensible, long term policies and we're doing that. And all the
Issues In competitiveness which affect this company, likc wages, and we've got an
Inflation rate now of 1.5 per cent, we've got a competitive exchange rate
mechanism, we've had a depreciation of the exchange rate recently.
if: If people haven't got a job then they're not interested in those figures.
PM: But it's for the company, you're making a claim on behalf of the company that it
needs support. ANl I'm saying to you is that it's had morc support than it could
have likely expected from the Government in the hardest thing to dcliver low
inflation, a competitive exchange rate. For a company like that they're the things
that It needs, and they're the things that wc've given It.
JT: Anothcr issue here is Benders Quarry. What are YOU going to do about that, close
it down?
PM: I'm not surc. I think that our view is tha~ t there should be no more damage to the
cave structure of this area by explosions and the rest, and we've been assured by
the Premier, by the Government of TFasmania, that they won't permiit any further
detonations or damage, and that what we're looking at in thc short term in some
relocation assistance for the company.
IT: So the last blast will not take place?

TEL: 5. Aug. 92 13: 49 No .013 F'. 08/ 1
PNS Well, that's what Wre told.
JTs Will the funds, though, to relocate it come out of world
heritage funds?
PI: I'm not sure what the funding source will be, but I don't
think we've talking about gigantic amounts here. Some of the
relocation assistance we can handle one way or the other.
MT Just move on now to listeners' questions and we asked'
listeners to phone in yesterday with some questions so that we
could sort of go through them and sort out the wheat from the
c7hva e ffr. meAnndt soc oinf sidI ecreodu ldd egcor etaos inthgo steh en owam. ouFnitr sot f onuen emisp, loyhmase nty oubry
ntroducing national service?
PX; Sorry, decreasing?
MT Decreasing the amount of unemployment by introducing
national service,
PM Well the question implies that there'sa some sort of a
penalty, that people are unemployed because they don't want to do
anything. That is if one threatens them with national service
they might get themselves employed. And I think that's very
unfair. I mean Australia is going through a cyclical, has been
through a cyclical recession and is going through structural
change. And we've got cyclical unemployment and we've got
unemployment coming from the structure of change in the economy.
This is not the fault of the people who are unemployed. And it's
unfair I think to say to them that they can quickly employ
themselves otherwise we'll shove them in the army. I mean I don't
accept that. I think society has got a responsibility to support
people who the economic system has made unemployed or redundant.
And the way to help them is to teach them new skills so they can
go back into the labour market. And that's exactly what the
government is doing.
JT: No more nasho then?
PM: No. No more nasho.
JTs Another fellow phoned in and said I'm sixty one, I have been
unemployed for twelve months, I've been hassled by the CBS and
the DSS during this period. I would like to know is there a
future policy in respect to the age group fifty five to sixty
five being able to take earlyr_ retirement and get an _ gLnsioq_._
Pi'i well to get an age pension, no. But fifty five is the age
where superannuation benefits are treed under the preservation
rules. But it is harder obviously for older people to when they
are unemployed to get back into the workforce. And obviously

TEL: 5. Aug. 92 13: 49 No. 013 P. 09/.'
there needs to be some real buoyancy in the economy and the
labour market before that can ha ppen. But we are seeing just in
the various technical and further education colleges, I was
yesterday at the TAPE at Clarence, and we are seeing quite a
number of mature age people going back to learn new skills so
they can f ind their way back into the labour market. But it to
harder. JTt Wihy do all parties still speak of growth when everyone knows
that our world is finite?
PM: Well this comes from so~ ebody who's never had to handle a
low growth economy. And it's very difficult I think to well
almost at this stage impossible to run an economic s ystem with
employment without growth. Otherwise we've got to find new wiya
of distributing wealth and obviously the wealth will be
diminishing as the growth is diminishing. Now I believe that you
can have growth and you can at the same time protect the
environment which I think is the point of the question. And you
can have it by the sort of services which are now proliferating,
which are environment friendly. Tourism for instance which is a
large employer, a labour intensive industry, is an
environmentally friendly industry, it's not a smoke stack
industry. it's not a polluter. And all manner of other services.
I mean I noticed yesterday at the same TAFE college I was talking
about students coming in from abroad paying full fees. Solling
education services is growth. But again it's a non-polluter. So
we're having, and even in the industrial production we're seeing,
you know, a much cleaner sorts of Industrial structures today
than we saw years ago. so one shouldn't assume therefore that we
have to go to zero growth or to contract to sort of save the
environment. I think what we've got to do is keep that happy
balance between the environment and growth and the needs of
people for a job.
MT How serious are you about keeping our land, our companies
and our assets in Australian hands when you have taken all the
teeth out of the foreign investment r. eview board and the
Australian Securitiei7 Commission?
PM: Well teeth implies that you've got to bite people you see.
And the question sort of has the penalty notion. You've got to
exact a penalty on people. We've developed this place, this
country of ours in the last two hundred years by relying on
someone else's capital. Capital we never had. In the first
instance it was British capital and British industry which
invested here and gave us the chance to develop this country. And
this is still true. This is a large continent. We don't have a
savings base and an investment pool adequate at this stage to
fund our needs, and so foreign investors come and buy assets and
they bring technologies and often they bring businesses. This I
think's a good thing.-And you know you see this ebb and flow. Z

a aa
TEL 5. HU9.' J 10Q-j nu n~ II.. 3 P,. 10
mean there wag A time, let Me give YOU An OXAMPle, not int
Australia but there was a time when during the OPEC one and two
oil rice shocks when the income of the Arab states rose sharply,
so they then amongst other things bought a stack of real estate
in Britain, in London, and what have you. It's largely now all
been sold. Similarly the Japanese in the eighties bought real
estate all round the world. They're now largely selling it.,
.7Ts Well they have to.
PX1 Well that's right. So I mean I don't know why people worry.
I mean we've got to fund the current account deficit some way. So
it either comes with debt or-It comes with equity.
So if you say no to equity and no to foreign investment it just
means that Australians somewhere have got to borrow more debt.
JTs Have YOU any idea though how much land is owned by foreign
investors? IPM: No there's no land register. But in my eight, years as
Treasurer the amount of purchases by foreigners of Australian
open space land wae quite small. I don't think it's a problem at
all. JTs NOxt question. With the differing wage stru~ cturea between
Australia and South Cast Asia our main manufacturing competitor,
the COst of production in Australia, the cost of production is I
should say, nkneteen times greater than those in south east Asia.
How then does the PM expect Australian manufacturers to become
competitive with this millstone around their necks. Are they to
slash wages or move production off shore and import?
PM Neither. They are to produce the right forts of things. That
is we should be investing in our creativity, in our brains and
selling innovative products that would attract a premium and not
trying to compete with the countries that make things, employ
people at seven and ten dollars a week. Now that's what Dr Rewson
wants to do. What he wants to do is cut the wage of Australians
so that we can compete with these low-wage countries for lowvalue
products. What we're trying to do is to educate
Australians, take them through secondary school, tertiary
institutions, TAFE, so that we can produce innovative products
that sell in--teee markets at a premium. And that's now
happening. You know we're seeing the likes of Telecom Australia
moving strongly through Indonesia, Malaysia# all these countries
to our near north. We're seeing lots of companies in the service
area, civil engineering construction services going there because
they don't have them. Education, educationalists and education
services. These are things which you don't have to compete seven
dollars or ten dollars a week for, So the clever thing to do is,
to make certain that the comparative advantage Australia now has
in education is continued. And not to do the dumb thing which as 1. 4

~ P* D si* I 4 d
* TEL: 5. Aug. 92 13: 49 No. 013 P-11/ 1
I say the only way we can compete is to slash your wages which Is
Urhat Dr Hewson is saying to young people, three dollars an hour#
to mature people, we'll out you back to three quarters of average
weekly earnings and then you might be able to compote making
shirts with the Indonesians or somebody else. The truth of the
matter is we ought to be making things that attract a premium
Where we put our creativity and our brains into the product and
Where we invest in our greatest resource which is our own people.
JM If we are concerned about four hundred job looses at AP?) I
that is less than two days of imiLgration. I don't know if those
figures are right actually. Should we not be taking in only
Immigrants with guaranteed job tenure?
PM: Well the migration program has been a source of great
strength to the' Austrailan economy. We've had workcforce growth in
this country with migration of about one int six to two percent
a year, Which means if you're an Austrafioan business if you do
nothing but grow your business naturally it should be growing one
point six or two percent a year as the population grows. Whereas
if you're a European business and you ve got static population
growth you've got to actually take someone else's market share to
grow, You've got to take the market share of another business.
You've got to take it of f themi to grow. So migration has been a
source of economic growth and strength to Australia. And the
Srogram is essentially a long-term one. Now we can vary it and we
ave quite substantially. we were taking a hundred and forty
thousand people a year in two years ago. We're now taking about
eighty thousand a year in. Just over eighty thousand a year in.
And that I think comprehends the fact that the labour market is
under stress and it's therefore more difficult to accommodate
migrants as well as Australians. But the problem is if you wind
the program down less than that it'd take years to wind it up
And if you look at the late 1980s when we had shortages of skill;,
in demand, tradesporsons, qualified people where the labour
market threatened to blow inflation apart again, the migration
program helped to complement our labour market, 6o one has to
take a medium term view of it. And governments should basicly
keep the program and adjust it for the contemporary condition of
the economy. Which is what we've done.
JTs Do you think Bob Hawke will ever rue the day he said that
all those Chinese students could stay here? And nlow you've had to
clamp down on them bringing in families and going Into the
marriage arrangements.
PM1: Oh I don't know what his view of it is now. It's just one of
those things, a contingency which arose because of the Tianenmen
Square thing.
JT: Do you think emotion though took priority there instead of

T5EL.: Rug. 92 13: 49 No. 013 P.. 12/.
rational thought?
PM1 Well it was considered. It was considered at Cabinet level.
Oh, it's something we can handle. We can handle it. I mean you'll
always got People trying to * xploit the system I Suppose. And
whatever they try we try and check them.
JTs Quickly then on to another couple of questions because we ' ve
got a very short amount of time. Given the youth job summit will
the PX be making money available to the community groups ' that
Work with and on behalf of the unemployed?
U1s ' Well we try and support certainly the volun~ tary agencies. We
gave them the One Nation package a substantial increase to the St
Vincent de Paul, the Salvation Army and those sorts of people.
But I think this question Is a question from the welfare industry
employees, the people who work In it.
Well and again we ye treated them well over the period. But T
think the primary concern now is with their clients# not with
them, You know, with the unemployed themselves. I mean it should
be remembered, people tend to think with unemployment now that
sort of the gains of the eighties have been lout. That's not
true. You see in 1983 when 1; became Treasurer we had a work~ orce
Of Six Million, Today we've got a workforce of seven point five
million. It's a quarter bigger.
JTi Yes but there was two hundred thousand roughly unemployed
When you came in and now it's a million.
PM. N4o no. No no, No that's not true. There were six hundred
thousand. Six or seven hundred thousand. It's just not growing.
But we've largely kept the employment. The place is twenty five
percent larger in size. The economy itself when I became
Treasurer In 1983 the total size of the economy# that's gross
domestic product, the production of the Country was two hundred
billion. This year it's four hundred and twenty five billion. So,
and inflation was ten and a half percent and now it's one and a
half. Imean thera are great gains there. We've had a great shift
to manufacturing which we didn't have in the early eighties. But
with the slow growth, the negative growth of the last year or so
we've lost the growth in employment and we've got to get that
back, But as we get it back we can just consolidate those
eighties changes and gains and move them into the nineties. So
people shouldn't be too forlorn about this. It's a matter of
trying to get the economy growing again and once we do we will as
I said there'll be a lag in the first instance and then that
employment response should come through.
M~ And talking about being forlorn the last question, tongue in
cheek I would imagine from a listener. Are you any relation. to
the Hobart undertaking firm of Pearce and Keating?

TEL: 5. Aug. 92 13: 49 No. 013 P. 13/ 1
PM. Never heard of them. Never heard of them. But they must, the
Keating family are spread all round the place buit I rarely find
any of us related, We or* obviously somewhere back there. They're
a& I black Irish of course.
JTs i thinkX it might be through come of the caricatures making
you the undertaker. I don't think it was really a serious
question. It was interesting to read Laurie Oakep today saying
ou're becoming the now warm and fuzzy PM now to try and got away
from Hewson's what has been depicted as a fairly cold image. Axe
you becoming a new warma and fuzzy PM?
MK in the 1980# one of the probleme about the Treasury and the
Treasurer's job is that the social policy we're all involved with
becomes the product of someone else. But all the things which I
vas involved with such as Medicare, the family allowance
supplement, the provision of occupational superannuation in the
workforce, childcare, aged care, the home and community care
program, the hostel program, the changed basis of geriatric
asesment, increases in basic rate pensions, the child support
agency through the Tax Office these are all things I was well
involved in. But that's not comprehended I don't think in the
debate. And people tend to think now when I'm out there
supporting those things that in some way I've changed my tune.
Many of those are there because I was involved with them. And to
I've always believed that society can only move along together
that we can't have a thing which is a survival of the fittest
policy. If you're not a millionaire you're a layabout, you know
this is the sort of iNewson deal. If you're not a millionaire
you're not working and the state owes you nothing. Well I think
people have got a right of access to health care. They have got a
right of access to education. They've got a right of access to
support in their old age. And those policies I've supported and
I'm not going to be cast in a position where people say well
because you introduced an open market economy into Australia in
the 1980s you're like Dr Hewson. I'm~ not like Dr Hewson. I mean
he is a clinical technician and good on him. If that's what he
wants to be fine. I'm not. I'm in there looking after the broad
group of the community as I always have.
JT: Paul ) Xuating thank you very much indeed for your time this
morning. PH: Thank you very much.

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