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Coonan comments: March edition.

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Coonan Comments - March edition

Date: 1 March 2001


There can be no doubt the Howard Government is facing its most difficult challenge in the election at the end of the year.

Growing disillusionment in the electorate, particularly in rural and regional areas, will test voter faith in the Coalition Government. But a week is a long time in politics!

Those close to the ground know of the remarkable accomplishments made by the Howard Government since 1996 - but the message must be spread further.

If this year’s election were to be based on achievement alone, the Howard Government could be assured of another term in Government. However, elections are more often fought on fickle ground and therefore we face a battle against misconception—driven by a policy lazy and opportunistic Labor Party.

The Howard Government has achieved a great deal—the skilled component of the Migration Program is expected to contribute $270 million per year over the next five years as a result of this Government’s policies. Australian exports are 20.6% higher than they were in January 2000—proof the Coalition’s economic policies have directly benefited Australia’s exporters and all Australians, particularly those in rural and regional areas, will benefit from the cut in fuel excise and scrapping of Labor’s half-yearly automatic indexation.

This Government has not just performed—we have listened, acted and delivered.

Spread the word!



ave the capacity to give back millions of dollars in petrol revenue and cut the price of petrol to Australian motorists overnight!

The New South Wales Premier Bob Carr could cut 7.2 cents per litre from the price of petrol overnight. He is receiving $707 million in Commonwealth pretol revenue payments of which he gives back $47 million to New South Wales motorists.

Victorian Premier Steve Bracks could cut 6.6 cents per litre from the price of petorl in Victoria overnight.

He is receiving $507 million in Commonwealth petrol revenue payments of which he gives back $38 million to Victorian motorists.

The Federal Government has acted in the interests of Australian motorists—it’s time the State Premiers gave back some of the petrol windfall payments they receive.


In stark contrast to Labor’s policy lazy approach to illicit drugs, the Government’s tough on drugs approach is already paying dividends in the courts and in the community.

Under the Government’s National Illicit Drug Strategy, the Australian Federal Police have stopped more than $1.24 billion in illicit drugs from reaching Australian communities over the past three years.Last year alone the seizure of illicit drugs rose by 300 per cent.

Labor’s out-of-date policy to target illicit drugs puts them “years” behind the Howard Government’s Tough on Drugs strategy which fights illicit drugs on three fronts—health, education and law enforcement.

Prevention is an important part of the fight against drugs. That’s why the Government’s $500 million Tough on Drugs strategy, includes some $220 million being invested in diversionary programs to enable drug addicts to get help and stay off drugs in the long term.

Beazley and Labor have announced a soft on drugs approach which does nothing except open the door to heroin injecting rooms and prescriptions.

The Federal Government has also invested $124 million in a four-year program to strengthen protection of Australia’s borders by Australian Customs and Coastwatch to stop drugs reaching our shores.


The Coalition Government’s economic management is opening up export markets around the world and bringing Australians jobs.Australian exports are 20.6% higher than they were in January 2000.

In 2000 alone Australia exported to Indonesia: $144 million in live cattle (up from $17 million on 1998); $64 million in dairy products (up from $37 million in 1998); $86.3 million in passenger motor vehicles (from $6.5 million in 1998); and $436.6 million in cotton.One in five Australian jobs depends on exports and one in four rural Australian jobs depends on exports.

Furthermore, through tax reform the Coalition Government has removed $3.5 billion of embedded taxes to the benefit of Australia’s exporters.


Local Councils across the country have begun receiving money from the Government’s Roads to Recovery program.

Under this historical agreement between Commonwealth and Local Governments, 127 local councils have received more than $15 million (from a total $1.2 billion) to begin improving local roads.

Funds for communities will be distributed on a weekly basis proving Roads to Recovery is neither a “boondoggle”, “trivial” or “unnecessary” as the Labor Party asserts.


More families are taking advantage of child care services because of the Coalition’s family-friendly policies.

Increases to the Child Care Benefit and a relative fall in fees has meant that the number of children in long day care is up 22% (to 367,000 children), in family day care is up 14% (to 95,000 children) and outside school hours care up 16% (to 124,000 children).Mr Beazley claimed that the GST would massively increase the cost of child care.He was wrong!