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Tuesday, 5 May 1987
Page: 2566

Mr TUCKEY —Does the Prime Minister recall the introductory remarks to the Prime Minister's speech by the Chairman of the Australian Financial Conference, Mr John Baker, last night when Mr Baker said that in the last recession the incidence of business failure and bad loans for his members was contained to property developers and big business, but that currently bad loans were nearly all occurring in the area of consumer finance and small business. In the light of this clear message and soaring bankruptcy rates amongst small business, when will the Prime Minister stop believing his own rhetoric and admit that his Government's policies are working to the extreme disadvantage of ordinary Australians on middle and low incomes.

Mr HAWKE —Modesty forbids me from conveying to the House all that the gentleman said last night, not only publicly but privately. I can assure honourable members opposite that if I were to convey to the House what he said they would not be very pleased at all. So I will not go to that. As I have said before, the macro-economic policies of this Government that were necessary to meet the circumstances imposed upon us-that is, the loss of $9 billion from our national economic capacity-are working. If the honourable gentleman who has asked the question believes that this country can be hit with a loss of $9 billion from its economic capacity and that need not be reflected in the level of activity in the community, that is simply another area of political and economic affairs about which he knows nothing.