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Ineffective government and economic crisis as 1988-89 ends



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k S MEDIA RELEASE

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SENATOR FRED CHANEY DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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INEFFECTIVE GOVERNMENT AND ECONOMIC CRISIS AS 1988-89 ENDS

"Deep concern about the economy and the performance of the demoralised and ineffectual Hawke-Keatlng government mark the end of the 1988-89 financial year," the Deputy Leader of the Opposition, Senator Fred Chaney, said today.

"Nothing better illustrates the trouble Australia's in than the fact that tomorrow's tax cuts have, for many hundreds of thousands of families, already been wiped out by the government's high interest rate policy," he said.

"At the same time, it is supporting phoney across-the-board wage rises without any pretence they are affordable or backed by productivity gains.

"There is widespread cynicism about the wage deal because Australians know that any money rise that might be granted will quickly disappear in higher prices."

Senator Chaney was speaking at a Liberal Party luncheon in Perth.

"Australia is trapped in a cycle of debt, high interest rates and real wage reductions as inflation outstrips the value of money wage rises," he said.

"There is a growing threat of really hard times ahead if, as looks increasingly likely, the economy comes to a hard rather than a soft landing.

"The big question in peoples' minds is whether this depressing pattern can be broken.

"The basic problem is of continuing excess of consumption over production which is reaching crisis proportions as the foreign debt burden grows because of the further S17 billion current account deficit for the financial year.

"The fact is that the pattern can be broken. .

"This can happen in one of two ways - by a collapse of consumption which takes the economy into recession or by urgent attention to the supply side of the economy to encourage greater production of wealth.

"The tragedy is that the Hawke government won't or can't move at the pace required to ensure the second scenario is realised.

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"It has become so defensive and negative that It le more interested In saying what It won't do than what it will.

"It won't:

. agree to reform of industrial relatione to allow employers and employees to deal directly in their mutual beat interests

. introduce genuine reform of the waterfront and coastal shipping which would save Australia hundreds of millions of dollars

. embark on a major privatisation programme whereby the proceeds of sale of enterprises such as Australian Airlines, Qantas and the Commonwealth Bank would help reduce the $100 billion-plus foreign debt burden.

"Australians are sick of this Dr. No approach to government.

"They want, and will get from the Liberal and National Parties, a commitment to do all the things I've just mentioned and a range of other measures which will help make Australia a better and more productive country."

Perth 30 June 1989 Contact Keith Kessell 325 8179