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Thursday, 28 May 1987
Page: 3500

Mr SLIPPER(1.25) —I wish to comment on a few matters relating to the termination of the tenure of this Government-a government in tatters whose leader crept into the chamber yesterday and, in a cynical exercise at 5.13 p.m., announced that Australia was going to have yet another early election. This was another broken promise which the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) can add to his litany of many broken promises over those four fateful years of Labor control of this nation. The people of Australia now know that they cannot accept at face value any promise made by the Prime Minister. The Prime Minister has a sorry record. Recall what he said on 13 November 1984, when he referred to home ownership. He said:

We pledge ourselves to bring home ownership once again within the reach of ordinary Australian families.

What has happened? Savings bank home loan interest rates have risen from 11.5 per cent in December 1984 to a record 15.5 per cent currently, and indeed, at least one bank has increased the rate even further. Monthly repayments on a typical $50,000 25-year loan have risen by $172 a month. Average loan repayments as a percentage of median family incomes have increased from 19.2 per cent in March 1983, when Labor came to office, to a record 26.7 per cent in September 1986. Of course, in addition, a record number of people are on public housing waiting lists. The people of Fisher, like the people in other parts of Australia, will, on 11 July, call this Government to account for its cynicism, broken promises and lack of reliability.

Interest rates are forcing many, many people out of their homes. The number of repossessions has never been higher. Yet let us look at what the Prime Minister said on 20 November 1984. He said:

At present, the outlook for interest rates is as bright as it has been for more than a decade.

Australia and Australians will during 1985 reap the interest rate rewards that are flowing from successful policies of the past 20 months.

He also said-and this is a classic:

We've ploughed the fields and sown the seeds. In the near future we will harvest the crop.

On 11 July this year, the Prime Minister and the Hawke socialist Government will indeed harvest the crop because they will be swept from office and, in fact, after that date, they will simply be a bad memory for the people of Australia.

Other broken promises relate to inflation. In 1984 the Prime Minister also said:

We expect inflation will be less than 5 per cent in the year ahead and we are determined to keep it below 5 per cent.

What a sick joke! The interest rates in this country are infinitely higher than those of our major trading partners. The interest rates in this country are forcing people out of their homes, off their farms and out of their businesses, yet this cynical Prime Minister came in here yesterday and tried to suggest that the people of Australia would give him another mandate on 11 July. I think that he lives in fairytale land. I think he has a dreamtime mentality because with his record there is no way that the Hawke Labor Government will be returned in July.

I turn to oil prices. The Government promised to reduce fuel taxes by 3c a litre. What has happened? Despite the decrease in international oil prices, in this country oil prices have continued to rise. The Treasurer (Mr Keating) has turned every petrol station in this country into a branch office of the Australian Taxation Office. He has made every person selling fuel a collector of taxes. He continues to rip off the people of Australia and those in my electorate of Fisher, and I believe that they have simply had enough. While we realise that Australia is a country in real trouble, a country in dire straits, it is also appropriate to recognise that it is this Government which has put it there. This Government's failed policies have forced Australia into the situation of being virtually a Third World country with a First World standard of living.

Then there were other promises, too-other promises relating to the trilogy and the promise not to bring in a capital gains tax. We remember the Prime Minister's comments. He said:

And here let me make one point so that even our opponents can understand it; and let me make it beyond all their powers of misrepresentation and distortion. There will be no new capital gains tax.

Well, what do we see in this country? Another broken promise. We find that there is a capital gains tax. When the Prime Minister delivers his policy speech in the runup to this election, he will make a wide range of promises-promises which the people of Fisher and of Australia will not be able to accept. As I believe one of the honourable members on this side of the House said, `Mr Hawke is the Prime Minister whose promises have a use-by date.' They are promises which are made, promises which are not implemented, promises made for convenience, promises made to attract the votes of people and then cynically cast aside when elections are over.

This Government is a government on the way out. It is a government of factions which have been hastily papered over the purposes of this election campaign. It is a government which is finding difficulty in coming forward with decisive economic policies for Australia's future. It is a government which is afraid to bring forward a Budget for this year. That is why it is scuttling to the people on 11 July. After the failure of its mini-Budget and the cynicism that that contained, this Government is not prepared to tell the people of Australia what is in the Budget due in August. What does it have to hide? That is what Australians are asking. Why has this Government not brought down its Budget? Why is it hiding behind yet another early election? The answers have simply not been forthcoming. They are answers which the people of Australia-and the people of Fisher-demand. The Government has simply failed to come up with suitable explanations and this will cost it dearly at the next election.

People are aware that we are now in a very difficult economic situation. Our international competitiveness has collapsed. Our international debt is now more than $101 billion or more than $6,000 for every man, woman and child in the whole of Australia. The national debt is increasing at the rate of $1,300 per second; at a rate in excess of $4.5m an hour. Every 10 days, Australia's national debt increases by an amount in excess of the cost of the new Taj Mahal up on the hill, Australia's new Parliament House-and we all know how costs for that building have blown out.

Thus the Government goes to the people in a time of crisis. The Government goes to the people with a tattered and patchy record. The Government goes to the people with a litany of broken promises. In this country we have a Federal government of the unions, for the unions and controlled by the unions. One only has to remember that within this Government we have 68 memberships of trade unions or thereabouts. Fourteen spouses of Australian Labor Party members are in trade unions and some of those members have also signed their children up in trade unions. This information comes from Year Book and also from the pecuniary interest returns. We find many unions represented and despite the claim by the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations (Mr Willis) that the Government, when bringing in the Industrial Relations Bill, represented community views, it is obvious that this is a government controlled by the unions. So, on 11 July, the people of Australia and the people of Fisher will have the opportunity to reject the Hawke Labor Government. When the people look at their tattered, patchy and disastrous record and at the fact that Australia is a country going down the economic gurgler, I am confident that they will sweep the Hawke Government from office in a landslide which will be reminiscent of the result on 11 November 1975 when the people of Australia at that time resolutely rejected the policies of Whitlam. Hawke is finished. This Government is finished. It will be thrown from office. This Government will be only a sick and sorry memory in the minds of the people of Australia after 11 July this year.