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Hunter Valley Training Company, Tuesday 29 September 1998: transcript of doorstop interview [election; GST; health; Defence; 100 Day Plan; Green preferences; polls; CGT; airports; jobs]



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LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION

 

TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP, HUNTER VALLEY TRAINING COMPANY

TUESDAY 29 SEPTEMBER 1998

 

E&OE - PROOF ONLY

 

Subjects: Election; GST; Health; Defence; 100 Day Plan; Green Preferences; Polls; CGT; Airports; Jobs

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible.

 

BEAZLEY:

 

Well let me tell you about Mr Howard. Mr Howard wants to run this election campaign and invite the Australian people for a second time to vote against Paul Keating. That is because he cannot in all seriousness bring himself to argue that they should elect him for a second time. In the sort of line he has been pursuing on this, there’s a clear indication of that. We have new problems. Mr Howard dwells in the past we dwell in the future.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible.

 

BEAZLEY:

 

Of course we had a rate of job growth that was twice this. All we have to do is to resume that sort of job growth again.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

You raised the name of Paul Keating this morning, you also said you thought that the previous government was a better government than the current one, are you saying that the main reason that Labor lost office was Paul Keating?

 

BEAZLEY:

 

I think that this Government has been disappointing to Australians, I think Australia thought this Government would be a deal better than it was. I must admit, I thought it, I thought this Government would be better than it has been. The simple fact of the matter is they inherited an economy better than good in parts, and they have halved the rate of job growth. They have to answer for their record, and they will do anything but do that. And they have to answer for a future, and they have only one idea, an idea that won’t work.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

inaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

I think that we now have, firmly on the table, the direction in which we have taken Australia. One of the things I have been gratified about, in this election campaign, is the extent to which there has been a growing willing response. More and more Australians agree with us; there should be jobs as the focus not a GST. More and more Australians are understanding that a GST is a job killer and in those circumstances, the positive forward looking approach that we have had has meant that this election campaign has dwelled far less on the past, than this government hoped for.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

inaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

I am sure Mr Howard would not have used that expression, I would never have called him that, and I am sure he didn’t call me that. What Mr Howard has to accept is the reality that if you have a service or a good on which there has not been a tax of 10% to this point, the most likely thing to occur when a tax of 10% has been put on it, is that there will be a 10% increase in prices. But one thing we know is true, and we know this absolutely; that Mr Howard estimates of what the price effect of a GST will be, are agreed with by nobody else; by nobody else, and that everybody who comments on these things have said that the inflation rate will be at least twice that Mr Howard is claiming for them, to the very great detriment of pensioners and our families.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

inaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

It will go in a totally different way because what the States will understand about that $180 million is that this is simply a down payment on what ultimately is going to be annually a $680 million increase so instead of just spending the $180 million on emergencies, what the States will be able to do is plan on starting to build up their workforces to include the availability of procedures in hospitals. It will be a $180 million spent in a totally different way in a totally different way if the States knew that in six months time, it would be $680 million than if the States knew that in six months time it would be another $180 million. It has a totally different impact on the hospital system. Instead of just looking perhaps at just temporarily filling gaps, what the states can do, is start there recruitment to improve the availability of the procedures, because they know they will get a poultice of money to deal with their problems in a very short period of time. Our $180 million will be a totally different $180 million in it’s effect, than that of our political opponents.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible.

 

BEAZLEY:

 

We have to look, I think, at our defence policies, in a way in which I have suggested today. It is something that we need to give some thought to, we always ought to. As far as defence policy is concerned, I have been seriously worried about the way now the processes of outsourcing have started to affect materially both life styles of the defence forces and the defence capability that is one thing we need to look at. We may need a further look at the way in which we do equip. The Government has plans anyway to review now what ought to be done with the upgrading of FA18’s and F111’s, we may have to take that review further.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

We have always managed to afford, whenever we have gone through a re-equipment program, by a process, because defence has a global budget. By a process of pushing out a particular projects we have had a capacity to bring the other things in, and I am just saying what we need to do is to start to look at that.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

If you win Mr Beazley, how quickly will you get Parliament back?

 

BEAZLEY:

 

We would get Parliament back well before Christmas that would be our intention, you can see from what I have announced here today several elements that have legislative components to it, so we would need a sufficient sitting of Parliament to get that underway.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

How many jobs are you expecting to create in the first 100 days?

 

BEAZLEY:

 

What we have here is a plan that starts off a program which is a result of direct Government initiatives, creates 105 000, it’s the start. It’s hitting the ground running. At the end of the period of time, as a direct result of decisions taken by Government, we would expect from the things I have been announcing today, something like 105 000 jobs, but spin off from that in the private sector we would think would be substantial as well.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

... todays preference decision by the Greens will be?

 

BEAZLEY:

 

I was grateful for that decision by the Greens, that they will give preferences to us, in the last election campaign there was a question mark over that in a number of areas, and I thank Bob Brown for the nice comments he made about me.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

The news poll today ... 1 point ahead have you ... indaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

I think the interesting thing about the polls is that they have shown varied perspectives, you have Mark Textor’s poll in the Bulletin showing the Labor Party rising I’m told, you’ve got Newspoll showing pretty well what the position they have been predicting for the course of the last five weeks. I think that there is a fine balance out there, there are a lot of people making up there minds, and when they make up there minds they have to consider this, this is the last chance to stop a $30 billion GST, the last chance to stop the privatisation of Telstra and a chance to elect a Government with a bit of vision about jobs security and opportunity for the future. A lot of people will be making judgements about that for the next three days. It is very evenly poised, what we do know is this; if it is close, only the Labor Party can form a stable Government with a coherent program. That is no longer in the gift of the Liberal and National Parties, the Coalition partners at least, of the Liberals have made that amply clear in this campaign.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Will the Labor party expand the programs operating here at the Hunter Valley Training company?

 

BEAZLEY:

 

Well if you take a look at the jobs package we brought forward, the emphasis was on good training. This is one of the premier good training companies of the nation, we will be relying heavily on this company to ensure that the targets we put forward on apprentices are hit.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

Well, my understanding of them was that they would direct preferences across the board so I ought to check that one  

 

JOURNALIST:

 

inaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

Except in Dickson apparently, oh well they would be treated harshly if that is what they have done, but I don’t think it will make any difference. I think Green voters in Dickson will be delighted at the prospect of voting for Cheryl.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

Well when I was Defence Minister I inherited a situation were 70% of our equipment was purchased overseas, when I left the portfolio five years later 70% of it was purchased domestically. That wasn’t a bad effort in five years, and I would apply the same vigorous analysis to what Defence’s purchasing program is now, that I tried when I was Defence Minister, all be it on this occasion, through Arch Bevis.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

We are certainly in the business of buying two more submarines at this point of time, and we will take a look at the totality of the picture as far as defence procurement is concerned. I have already indicated in the course of this campaign that I think we need to look, fairly closely, at the capital equipment program that the Defence Department has.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

….Mr Howard has been active on this matter as though the Liberals do not have a Capital Gains tax; they do, and basically all that we are doing is equalising it, but we are going to treat, from next year, all assets the same, and those who have had assets prior to 85 will be the beneficiaries of a considerable period of time free of capital gains tax unlike those that purchased them in 1986. But as far as family farms are concerned, you and I know this; The main issue, as far as family farmers are concerned is passing them on to the kids and they are passed on to the kids free of Capital Gains Tax. But from that point on, if those farms were sold, the Capital Gains Tax would apply to them under Mr Howard’s rule as well as under ours.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible.

 

BEAZLEY:

 

I hope not. I mean that was certainly one which in this Term of Parliament got away. But I still regard in my mind this; it is many other things. But I still regard it as a Steel City, that is still in my mind and what we can do about that, I would sit down with Simon Crean who would not be found in the casino, but in Newcastle, when issues were of concern to Newcastle were raised, and we will try and work our way through to see what we can do about that.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible ... Million dollar airport in Newcastle.

 

BEAZLEY:

 

Well, I have heard that claim, but it comes from a Party that is committed to Badgereys Creek. The Transport Minister came out only a day or two ago and said that the Liberals were confirmed to proceed with Badgereys Creek, let me tell you this, you can’t have an international airport there and at Badgereys Creek, that won’t work.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

inaudible ... Forest Gump of Australia

 

BEAZLEY:

 

I suppose I called him a fish yesterday, so I guess it is tit for tat.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Inaudible

 

BEAZLEY:

 

Mr Howard has just let them down and they know it. These are folk that form a part of Australian society and these are folk that believe that Mr Howard’s inactions, and maybe actions of commission in some of the things he has said, have made them feel in, some quarters, unwelcome in this country. They resent it because they were making a major contribution to our national life and they have enjoyed the good and friendly relationship, and good friendly relationship with their fellow Australians, since they have come to this country. And they don’t submit very easily to Mr Howard’s role in those matters whatever Mr Howard might be attempting to do now. What Tim Fischer did yesterday, apart from introducing unnecessarily extreme language into the course of this campaign, what he indicates is how a small majority Coalition government could not be relied upon to produce a coherent approach to policy making and really, it comes down to this; It is the Labor party or a Tory three-ringed circus. It is what is was in Queensland, so it is now Federally.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

Mr Beazley how much faster do you think you can make the economy grow under your policies as opposed to a Howard Government?

 

BEAZLEY:

 

It will be faster than under a Howard Government for the simple reason that we are actively engaged in promoting jobs. We are now seeing the studies come in on impact on jobs of a GST and a very authoritative study came out only today which suggests that there are some thousands of jobs which would be lost, if a GST would be put in place. It stands to reason that if you put it in place, on small business and the service industries, a check on their development, there will be job losses. This is simple common sense that suggests that that is going to occur and now that the studies which should have been ruminated on at length by the Australian population especially in an election environment, but they are nevertheless come through now. It is a clear indication that Labor will produce more jobs with our proposition than Mr Howard, and a higher level of growth.

 

JOURNALIST:

 

So how far will the economy grow in the financial year 1998/99 under your government?

 

BEAZLEY:

 

It will grow faster than it will under Mr Howard bringing in a GST and we of course have got to look at what the Treasury figures actually are. It does seem to me, that there will be another set of figures coming out shortly after the election as to what Treasury estimate the growth figures are. We are not privy to those figures and we can only see what is in the media and we can only see what private consultants and economists are preparing, and that is a considerable slowing in growth.

 

Tape ends

 

 

 

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