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Tuesday, 11 September 1990
Page: 1633

Mr HAWKER(10.55) —Following in the vein of my colleague the honourable member for Higgins (Mr Costello), I too listened with interest to some of the maiden speeches that were made by members from the back bench of the Government. I notice that when things start to go wrong members of the Australian Labor Party, like the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke), seem to adopt a fairly simple formula. First, they try somehow to keep talking about the past. The fact that the previous Liberal-National Government lost in 1983-over seven years ago now-seems to be conveniently overlooked. We are now seeing contorted figures.

Honourable members opposite talk about the number of years Labor has been in power versus the number of years the coalition was in power and somehow, using some very tenuous arguments, suggest that problems that have occurred mostly in the last seven years were somehow not really the fault of the government of the day, but of the government of 10, 20, or, in some cases, it seems, almost 30 years ago. I think that logic ought to be dispelled and shown up for what it is. It is contorted; it is an abuse of the facts. Of course, many of the problems that we see today are fairly and squarely the problems that have been caused by this Government.

In the economic field, of course, we have had the same Treasurer (Mr Keating) for those seven years and no-one else but he can accept the blame for what has occurred. I notice also that Labor members often try to distort the facts and nowhere so obviously than with the myth that is continually repeated by some members of the Government about the so-called deficit that the Labor Party inherited. If we took a cursory look at the facts we would see that it is a myth. It is a distortion and honourable members who aspire to represent their electorates and their country ought to lift their game a bit on it.

There was a change in government in March 1983. The Budget of 1982, of course, referred to the 1982-83 financial year, which ended on 30 June 1983. That is a matter of over three months after the Hawke Government was elected and yet we continue to hear references to things like inherited deficits of $9.6 billion which, of course, is highly misleading. I would probably prefer to use an unparliamentary term, but I guess I should not.

If we look at the facts, we see that the 1982-83 Budget had a deficit of $4.3 billion, less than half the figure that some honourable members from the Government side, including some of the newer members of this chamber, continue to talk about. How honourable members can continue to use a twisted bit of logic to do that leaves me curious because, frankly, it is less than honest. I think that honourable members should be reminded of the simple fact that the 1982-83 Budget ran out on 30 June 1983, three months after the Hawke Government was elected and the deficit was $4.3 billion, not the other figure that is often used.

The second point is that so many speeches coming from the other side continue to use the old Labor rhetoric of exaggerating the achievements of the Government. Again I think that should be exposed for what it is, nothing more than exaggeration. The combination of these two factors-both the blaming of the past efforts of governments 10, 20 or 30 years ago and the exaggeration of the present achievements of this Government-indicates that this Government is more than overdue for retirement into the fields on this side of the chamber.

Madam DEPUTY SPEAKER —Order! It being 11 p.m., the House stands adjourned until 10 a.m. tomorrow.

House adjourned at 11 p.m.