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Return to the front bench

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I have reflected on my recent discussions with Alexander Downer about the possibility of my return to the Front Bench.

I am obviously keen to do so.

I am also particularly concerned to ensure that the Liberal Party and the Coalition takes the fight to the Government in the most effective way possible and that the Coalition develops an alternative policy position that will give the electorate a clear choice at the next federal election.

As I have said many times, it is absolutely ridiculous for the Liberal Party to continue changing the jockey, when there is so much more that needs to be done to improve the mechanics of the Party and its policy position.

Our role as members of Parliament representing the great Liberal tradition is to be the most effective opposition. To be anything less is to fail the thousands of members of the party and our supporters around the country, who are passionate about Australia and the Liberal cause and to whom we owe our very existence as Parliamentarians.

I am. convinced that if we can make the necessary changes, we can and will win the next election.

In this respect, putting the right people in the right jobs will be essential.

1 believe that I can make my most effective conUibution as Shadow' Treasurer.

I am the most experienced and qualified economist in the Parliament and given the direction of the economy - the threat of another balance of payments crisis, rising interest rates, debt and taxes - it is essential to Australia that the Government be called to account for its economic mismanagement.

In seeking the position of Shadow Treasurer, I am not reflecting on present or past occupants of that position, nor am I taking sides in the current speculation in the media about the Leadership of the Liberal Party.

My offer to serve in the position of Shadow Treasurer stands for Alexander Downer, for John How-ard or for anyone else who aspires to lead the Party.

I have not been, nor will 1 be, a party to destabilisation.

To be very clear, I do not just want to sit on the Front Bench, I want to ensure that my experience and knowledge is utilised in the most effective way for the Party and for Australia.

21 January 1995