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Beazley the fall guy in deck chair shuffle?



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Senator ¬ęTim Short. Shadow M inister for Finance and Shadow Minister Assisting the Leader on Commonwealth/State Relations

6 December 1991 SMF95/91

BEAZLEY THE FALL GUY IN DECK CHAIR SHUFFLE?

Today's shuffling of the deck chairs will do nothing to solve Australia's worst recession in 60 years.

On the contrary, it will cause continuing lack of confidence by the community in the Government's capacity to govern.

The Government admitted this week that its Budget forecasts are wrong in important respects and that it is reviewing them.

In particular, Government spending under Finance Minister Willis has blown out ominously in the first four months of 1991-92. Spending has increased 9.5 per cent, compared with the Budget forecast of 5.7 per cent. This blow out was confirmed in the National Account figures released yesterday.

The man who, along with former former Treasurer Paul Keating, has presided over this blowout and the massive $6.5 billion

unravelling of the Budget last year, is now being rewarded for this fiscal irresponsibility by elevation to Treasurer.

Mr Beazley, as the incoming Finance Minister, with no previous relevant experience in this area, will inherit the dangerous mess created by Mr Willis.

Mr Beazley quite obviously is the fall guy in today's Titanic exercise. As a key Hawke supporter, he was the one Minister the Prime Minister could move out of the key micro reform area of Transport and Communications without causing yet another fight within a bitterly divided Government.

The exclusion of New South Wales Ministers from all of the

leadership positions, and from virtually all of the key

portfolios, is eloquent testimony to the depth of Mr Hawke's distrust and dislike of the New South Wales Right.

This exclusion, and the total Victorian domination of key positions, will further destabilise the Government and add impetus to Paul Keating's Prime ministerial ambitions.

There is therefore, every prospect that Mr Willis' and Mr

Beazley's tenure of their new portfolios maybe short lived.

Canberra.

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY M IC A H