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Tuesday, 21 May 1985
Page: 2216


Senator COOK —I ask the Minister for Finance whether his attention has been drawn to criticism in the editorial of last Wednesday's Australian Financial Review that:

The Treasurer's statement on government expenditure savings for the coming financial year is a disappointment. It shows that despite all its rhetoric the Hawke Government has been unable to face up to the hard issues of government spending restraint.

And:

The cuts are diffuse, general and unconvincing.

My penetrating question to Senator Walsh is: Is there any substance in these criticisms?


Senator WALSH —Some of that editorial, which was written by Mr McGuinness, may have contained some defensible criticism, but there is no substance in the specific criticism quoted by Senator Cook or, indeed, in another sentence in that editorial which said:

It is another blunt razor gang effort, as shameful and weak as that of the Fraser Government.

There is no substance in any of those specifics, whether there is some substance in some of the other criticisms or not. In order to evaluate the merit of that editorial in general it should be noted that the lock-up started at 5 p.m. and Mr McGuinness started typing at 5.05 p.m. Production of that scholarly and well-considered assessment of the May statement started five minutes after the lock-up began.