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Transcript of press conference: Ballina Council Chambers, Ballina: 8 March 1993



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PRIME MINISTER

PARTIAL TRANSCl T OF THE PRIME THE HON P J

KEATING MP, PRESS CONFERENCE, BALLIlVA COUNCIL CHAMBERS, 8 MARCH 1993

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I: Rime Mlnist the CES job vacancy figures today have job vacancies at a two year high. is this an indication of ... especially what we can expect on Thursday with the national unemployment figutes?

PIL There's no point iu me frying to make an estimate of the numbers to be provided by the Statistician on Thursday. But as increase in job vacancies would be consistent with the growth in production in the economy. The economy has been growing for five quarters, we're now growing at about 2.4 per cent a year according to our Statistician, and it would seem that given the fact that as production rises and it becomes far more costly for employers to pay

overtime that they start to robe, and before they start to rehire of course they post vacancies. So this all makes sense with the economy in a recovery phase.

J: Prime tester, you've adopted a fairly (inaudible).

PM: I hold the National Party in utter conte mpt. The Nation Party is one of the reasons why Australia wed merely a quarry and a farm; it's one of the reasons why we never had a decent education systems it's one of the reasons why we were not producing product innovation; it's one of the reasons why we never made the engagement into Asia; because they always bad the dead band on the Coalition. And there was no better Winer of the dead land fban Doug Anthony. That's from my own expede ce, baw served many years in k :°~ °°

piim with boom. This area is growing rapidly, it needs a break, it desires a break, and it's got the break with a Member of Pmt from the area interested in the place it's growing and he has caught the attention of national programs. So for the first time ever this region is getting these sort of facilities like DSS offices, Medicare offices, stand alone campuses. two TAFE

campuses, upgrading the highways and the rest The National Party took the place for granted and you won't have any problems with me camp them to account. McEwenism practiced by Mr Anthony Senior is one of the reasons

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why this Government has struggled so hard in over a decade to mode rise the Auk economy. Lets not let them back in. This is the time to check them.

J: (inaudible).

PM: I think the Neville has already made a name for himself and established a record for bi n eWin the region, and I think therefor we've got eve ry prospect of particularly as the demographics are changm P ly as the p is gro

Do you think youll hold it?

PM: I think well hold i t, yes I do.

Mr Keating, the Ltd Pa rty candidate also criticised the National Party for 30 years of neglect (ale).

PM: Lets take the conservative vote as a whole. We think we can do better than the conservative vote as a whole, but ifs probably a pretty apposite comment on the part of the Liberal Party candidate, that the National. Party has been a dead hand on the area.

Mr Keating, Dr Hewson is using a letter from the Canadian Deputy Prime Munster rejecting the reason for his resignation, the impact of the GST.

PkL' I've heard about that. That would be about as genu ine as a letter from the AMA. That is, rm sure the Liberal Party would have arranged that cor respondence. It would have no more authenticity than if we had a letter from the B rilish Labor Party arguing a point on our favour.

J: Are you saying the Canadian. Deputy Prime Minister is just a pawn. of Dr Hewson's?

PM: Yes.

J: Mr Keating this mo m you were having a go at John Hewson after he con^imed that retailers won't have to show the GST component on their dockets_ New Zealand doesn't do that, what other counties do?

PM: But D fl wson has made a virtue secrecy dd"taaes. Kee the owe who is going to do it all up front Now, if you had to decide which tax should be the most up front tax, itwouldbearetailtaxiniroducedintheciimateonan election where the focus was on the supposed secrecy of taxes. For the Liberal

Party to be considering now to be introducing for the first time in Australian history a huge retail level tax and not require it to be displayed, while they go on about having the Prices Surveillance Authority survey 836,000 business (which of course is an impossibility), the primary method, at least one of the basic points is to know how much tax is levied_ And given that they've gone on so much about these things not being displayed, because theyve been wholesale

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level tomes et cetera and excises, then I should have thought it was the ultimate insult for Dr Hewson to be proposing that the GST should be a hidden tai.

J: But for you more than any of us have made sure its not a secret.

PM: Yes, but it would be a secret ifyou picked up your bin at the hardware shop and found that you didn't know what was cost and what was tax. That's where the secret would be. The thing abort it is, who does he think we are? That he can go around saying and making a campaign about secret taxes, and propose a retail level tax, and then say I won't require people to show it.

J: Was it going to be required to be displayed in Option C?

PM: We never proceeded with Option C so we never got down to those details.

J: What are you saying, it should be displayed for example when you get into a taxi?

PM: It should be shown because it's going to have to compuied If its going to be computed it's got to be shown.

J: Prime Munster, in hindsight are you grateful for Bob Hawke and Bill Kelty for making sure your Party didn't adopt it?

PM: Well at least I've not had to sell it over all these years, so I owe them. that.

J: In last nos debate, every time you mentioned the word growth the worm seemed to crawl in your favour. John Kenn was here last week and said t at Fightback was a collection of well-worn Fraser policies and (inaudible) the growth you are experiencing ...

PM: What I'm sa ying is, that now the economy has groin for consecutive quarters, now it is growing markedly and set to accelerate, now we have inflation beaten for the first time in 20 years, now we've signed another Accord to preserve 14 now at the time when we've never been as competitive by the exchange rate, wages and interest rates, to throw it all up now, to move bark to a confrontationist indust

(mndible).

PM: As I said today, the weight is on. People are going to say which way do I vote? Where do Igo now? On the one hand the economy is grow, Labor is offering tax cuts which are the same as the Coalition's but no GST and are already legislated So if someone votes for the Coalition, they're not likely to get a tax cut without a GST. But from the Labor Party, they get the tax cut without a GST audit's already legislated. But as well as that; the economy is growing, it's accelerating, and we're starting to see the job vacancies change and

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we're starting see employment canting through. On the other hand, what have they got? They've got the GST - a regressive flat tax which is mflationaiy, divisive and unfair. And as well as that - turning social policy on its head, and tanning harmony, cooperation and general fairness of the country's policies upside down_

J: Mr Keating, you described the Opposition Leader as having taken the coward's choice in his campaign strategy this week of public rallies. Are you saying that Dr Hewson is gutless?

PM: If he won`t go to the Press Club. the convention is that the Leaders go to the Press Club. He is after all the Leader of the Opposition_ He won't go where the hard questions are What he'll do, he'll stand on some lectern and bellow into a public address system, or take a rise out of adolescents who interject

That's not answering the questions, the hard questions, which he's now shown he has great difficulty in dealing with even under modest questioning. So, he should appear where it matters most before the nation, and that means before the media so that his responses can be recorded and transmitted to the whole of the Australian population, rather than to simpl y a few people in some mall.

I: (inaudible).

PM: He's the one proposing the changes, he should defend them where it matters most, and he's not prepared to_

I: Now that he's dropped out of the Press Club, are you still going to appeal?

PM At this stage I intend to appear. But can I say though, the convention, its a tradition that both parties appear, both parties have their policies scruiinised.

J: Mr Keatiny are you visiting any cake shops or horse trainers?

PM: No rm not, but I don't know whether Dr Hewson is any Chemist shops either.

J: ... cat in interest rates?

PM- We haven't promised a cut after the election. We said well examine h. Obviously, if rates world wide go down it makes any sh y in monetary conditions easier, but again that's a judgement to be made Later.

I: Dr Hewson says that Fighthack will see domestic tourism boom in the area. What's your response?

PM: How could it? He's going to put a 15 per cent Goods and Services Tax on it He's going to put a 15 per cent Goods and Services Tax on Accommodation. Every hotel, every- room that's let in this region will ha ve a 15 per cent GST on it Every bus fare, every movement, every airline ticket will have 15 per cent Every meal served will have 15 per cent. Hell kill tourism. We are the party-

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authors of the thing. created tho tourism industry as we know it now, m the 'BQs. We're the This gu y 's gig to murder ft with a GST_ And yet he's got the hide to invoke towissm as one of the growth indus tries under him You see, you've got to have a lot of front to be in the Libel ply.