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Wednesday, 18 March 1987
Page: 851

Senator CRICHTON-BROWNE —I give notice that, on the next day of sitting, I shall move:

That the Senate-

(a) condemning the Prime Minister (Mr Hawke) for statements he made on Sydney radio to the effect that there was nothing more that the Federal Government could do to assist Australian farmers;

(b) noting that these statements were a deliberate attempt to mislead Australian farmers and the Australian public into the belief that the entire blame for the present rural depression lies in low export prices; and

(c) noting that to conceal the part Federal Government policies have played in dramatically increasing farm costs and slashing farm incomes;

(d) condemns the Federal Government for pursuing policies which have reduced farm incomes by increasing farm costs, noting in particular:

(i) its maintenance record high interest rates at a time of record levels of rural debt,

(ii) its introduction of new taxes and tax arrangements such as the fringe benefits tax, increased sales taxes on wine, new sales taxes on orange juice and flavoured milk and quarterly payments of provisional tax,

(iii) its failure fully to pass on the reductions in world oil prices to the entire Australian community, leading to higher farm input costs, and

(iv) its failure to take a firm stand against increasing wage costs or to support moves by the rural community to be exempted from wage increases on the grounds of incapacity to pay.