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Labor waves white flag in the bush.



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M284/2001 26 September 2001

LABOR WAVES WHITE FLAG IN THE BUSH

An admission by a Labor front bencher that Labor was abandoning the bush and returning to the caffe latte set for support would not come as a surprise to country Australians, Federal Regional Services Minister, Senator Ian Macdonald said today.

Senator Macdonald said that regional issues were difficult but the Howard Government was taking a structured approach to regional assistance. He said Labor's retreat to its 'caffe latte' base was another flip-flop from Kim Beazley's Labor who were interested in votes but not the job of governing for all Australians.

The Sydney Morning Herald today quoted a Labor front bencher who said:

'We are on the nose in the bush…we might need some of those caffelatte people to get us over the line.'

"Clearly, Labor have no plan for regional Australia, just a cynical plan for election which offered nothing but negativity. Now Labor is finding it tough in the bush, they are just going to wave the white flag," Senator Macdonald said.

"Country people well remember being abandoned by the previous Labor Government especially when times got tough," he said

"Interest rates went through the roof, farms and rural small businesses went to the wall, 277 Post Offices were closed and Labor wrote off the analogue mobile phone system with no replacement."

And nothing has changed. Labor have opposed virtually all of our major initiatives to put funds back into regional areas and late last year, Labor sacked their South Australian Country Labor President for telling the truth - for admitting Labor only paid lip service to regional issues."

"Labor is totally subservient to noisy city interest groups- the same 'caffe latte' set that a Labor front bencher is now appealing to for electoral salvation."

"I call on Kim Beazley to find, name and sack the front bencher quoted in today's Sydney Morning Herald. "

"That person doesn't deserve a front bench seat - they aren't committed to governing for all Australians -and they clearly don't have the ticker for the tough times," Senator Macdonald said.

Media inquiries: David Moore 02 6277 7060