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The national's national agenda: rebuilding a robust Australia



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ADDRESS BY

TIM FISCHER MP

LEADER OF THE NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

TO THE 1991 ANNUAL STATE CONFERENCE

NATIONAL PARTY OF AUSTRALIA - WESTERN AUSTRALIA

THE NATIONAL’S NATIONAL AGENDA:

REBUILDING A ROBUST AUSTRALIA

Geraldton, Western Australia

Saturday 10 August 1991

THE NATIONAL'S NATIONAL AGENDA:

REBUILDING A ROBUST AUSTRALIA

MR PRESIDENT, STATE LEADER HENDY COWAN AND YOUR

COLLEAGUES, DELEGATES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

MR PRESIDENT, IT'S TIME THAT AUSTRALIA HAD A PRIME MINISTER WHO DOES NOT LIE AND WHO THE PEOPLE COULD TRUST - AND IT'S TIME THE COUNTRY HAD A PRIME MINISTER WHO WAS NOT INVOLVED IN INCESSANT DEAL MAKING AND LOOKING AFTER MATES - WHO PROVIDED SOME REAL

LEADERSHIP.

IT'S TIME THAT THE COUNTRY HAD A PRIME MINISTER WHO PROVIDED FAIR DINKUM LEADERSHIP

- IN RELATION TO THE ECONOMY - IN RELATION TO RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA - IN RELATION TO URANIUM MINING AND THE MILLIONS OF EXPORT DOLLARS IT COULD SAFELY GENERATE OVER THE

REST OF THIS DECADE - LEADERSHIP IN RELATION TO MINING A HILL IN CLAPPED OUT BUFFALO COUNTRY, NAMELY CORONATION HILL, WHICH HAS ALREADY HAD 25,000 TONNES OF ORE TAKEN OUT OF

IT SINCE WORLD WAR II. - IN RELATION TO VALUE ADDING IN THIS COUNTRY WITH THE FOREST INDUSTRIES

HAWKE HAS SO LOST HIS JUDGEMENT THAT ONLY HAWKE COULD SUGGEST THAT LEFT WING DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER BRIAN HOWE MAY ONE DAY SOON BE PRIME MINISTER OF AUSTRALIA, OR MAKE THE MISTAKE OF PUTTING FELLOW EX PRESIDENT OF THE ACTU, SIMON CREAN, IN THE PRIMARY INDUSTRY PORTFOLIO.

MR PRESIDENT, CLEARLY WE NEED A NEW PRIME MINISTER.

IT'S TIME THAT, ON THE FOREIGN AFFAIRS FRONT, GIVEN AUSTRALIA'S DISASTROUS RELATIONS WITH MALAYSIA, GIVEN THE RECENT TOUR OF SOUTH AFRICA BY A CERTAIN "BIGGLES" WHO ACHIEVED THE RARE DOUBLE OF HAVING ALL WHITES AND MOST BLACKS OFF SIDE IN EIGHT DAYS, IT'S TIME AUSTRALIA

HAD A NEW FOREIGN MINISTER.

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IT'S ALSO TIME WE HAD A NEW MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION TO REPLACE THE CURRENT MINISTER, GERRY HAND, WHO ADMITS THAT THE INTEGRITY OF OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS AND

IMMIGRATION SYSTEM HAS BEEN EFFECTIVELY COMPROMISED. I WARN THERE IS A TIME BOMB TICKING AWAY WITH OUR

IMMIGRATION PROGRAMME.

AUSTRALIA HAS A RIGHT TO DECIDE WHO COMES TO LIVE IN AUSTRALIA. WE SHOULD EXERCISE THAT RIGHT AND WE SHOULD MAKE NO APOLOGY FOR DOING SO.

WITH THE GOVERNMENT'S DISASTROUS ECONOMIC POLICIES IN PLACE AND UNEMPLOYMENT GOING THROUGH THE ROOF,

OBVIOUSLY IMMIGRATION TO AUSTRALIA BY THE YOUNGER, BETTER EDUCATED, MORE EMPLOYABLE PEOPLE, IS IN DECLINE. IN FACT, CURRENTLY DEPARTURES BY IMMIGRANTS TO

AUSTRALIA HAVE RISEN BY 35% SINCE 1989.

WHAT THAT MEANS IS THAT PEOPLE ARE COMING TO AUSTRALIA, SEEING OUR DISASTROUS ECONOMIC DECLINE, AND GOING BACK TO THEIR HOMELANDS. WHATEVER YOU THINK ABOUT

IMMIGRATION, THIS FACTOR SAYS A GREAT DEAL ABOUT

AUSTRALIA'S RELATIVE DECLINE DURING THE LABOR YEARS.

THE GOVERNMENT'S SOLUTION IS TO LOWER THE STANDARDS OF ENTRY TO KEEP UP NUMBERS.

WE MUST RE-ESTABLISH THE INTEGRITY OF OUR IMMIGRATION LAWS IN A WAY WHICH GIVES CONFIDENCE TO ALL

AUSTRALIANS.

IT'S TIME THAT THE MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SECURITY, GRAHAM RICHARDSON, ACCEPTED THE WILL OF THE SENATE WHICH CENSURED HIM RECENTLY ON THE MOTION OF SENATOR RON BOSWELL AND SENATOR BILL O'CHEE, AND DEPARTED FROM THE MINISTRY AND FROM THE CABINET AND FROM THE SENATE.

HIS FAILURE TO PROPERLY ADMINISTER THE RAVENSHOE PACKAGE EFFECTIVELY, EXPOSED BY SENATORS RON BOSWELL AND BILL O'CHEE, INDICATES THAT HE SHOULD GO. IN ANY EVENT, HE SEEMS TO SPEND MOST OF HIS TIME IN FACTION WHEELING AND DEALING, RATHER THAN ADMINISTERING HIS

PORTFOLIO IN THE NATIONAL INTEREST.

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IT'S TIME, GIVEN ALL THE DELIBERATIONS IN HOBART WHERE ALL MINISTERS PRESENT AND ALL DELEGATES SUPPORTED THE ABOLITION OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL MONARCHY IN AUSTRALIA, AND SUPPORTED RENAMING THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL ' THE

PRESIDENT' OF AUSTRALIA, THAT THE CONCEPT OF

REPUBLICANISM FOR AUSTRALIA BE REJECTED AND THE LABOR PARTY BE CAST OUT OF OFFICE.

I WARN THAT THE AGENDA FOR THE REPUBLIC OF AUSTRALIA MAY NOT JUST BE ABOUT RENAMING THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL ■PRESIDENT OF AUSTRALIA' UNDER THE AGENDA OF THE LEFT. IT IS ALL ABOUT CENTRALISING POWER IN CANBERRA AND SO

FAR AS CANBERRA IS CONCERNED, REMOVING POWER FROM PARLIAMENTARY SCRUTINY TO THE LEVEL OF THE OFFICE OF PRESIDENT OF AUSTRALIA.

IMAGINE THE FUTURE OF AUSTRALIA UNDER A PRESIDENT BOB HAWKE OR A PRESIDENT PAUL KEATING. MY VOTE WOULD GO TO PRESIDENT IAN MACNAMARA OF 'AUSTRALIA ALL OVER' FAME!

THE WHOLE POINT IS, AUSTRALIA DOES NOT WANT A REPUBLIC. OUR INDEPENDENCE FROM WESTMINSTER HAS BEEN LONG

ESTABLISHED AND I FULLY SUPPORT THE QUEEN OF AUSTRALIA CONTINUING IN THAT ROLE, AS THE QUEEN OF AUSTRALIA.

I T ’S TIME TO CAST OUT ALL OF THESE REPUBLICANS IN THE LABOR PARTY BEFORE THEY TAMPER WITH THE CONSTITUTION IN A FUNDAMENTAL WAY.

MR PRESIDENT, IN SHORT, ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. WITH A FIVE FOLD INCREASE IN FOREIGN DEBT UNDER FEDERAL LABOR, AND UNEMPLOYMENT AT 800,000, WITH RECORD BANKRUPTCIES, WITH A RECESSION WE DID NOT HAVE TO HAVE, LABOR HAS LOST ANY

RIGHT TO GOVERN AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL AND AT THE STATE LEVEL THEIR PERFORMANCE IS ALSO RAPIDLY DETERIORATING.

MR PRESIDENT, PEOPLE ARE CRYING OUT FOR LEADERSHIP AND DETERMINATION. IN RESPONSE TO ALL I HAVE SEEN AND

HEARD, AND IN RESPONSE TO THE SHOCKING ECONOMIC

CIRCUMSTANCES OF REGIONAL AND RURAL AUSTRALIA, I NOW GO ON TO DEFINE THE NATIONAL'S NATIONAL AGENDA, WHICH IS ALL ABOUT REBUILDING A ROBUST AUSTRALIA.

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THE NATIONAL PARTY WILL UNDERTAKE THIS ROLE BY BEING A STRONG AND STABLE PARTNER IN THE NEXT COALITION FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, PURSUING NATIONAL PARTY POLICY OBJECTIVES AND SUPPORTING MORE GENERALLY THE COALITION'S REFORM AGENDA ON INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, TAXATION, TRADE AND MICRO ECONOMIC REFORM.

IT IS CRITICAL THAT WE HAVE A CLEAR IDEA OF WHAT THE NATIONAL PARTY WILL BE PURSUING IN GOVERNMENT. WHILST THERE WILL BE INDUSTRY SPECIFIC POLICIES AND GENERAL ECONOMIC POLICIES WHICH WILL BE PURSUED - AT A MORE

FUNDAMENTAL LEVEL WE WILL NEED TO REVERSE THE DECLINE OF THIS COUNTRY INTO SOCIALISM.

A STARK FEATURE OF THE LABOR YEARS HAS BEEN THE

REDUCTION IN INDIVIDUAL INDEPENDENCE THROUGH HIGH TAXATION, WHICH TAKES AWAY ALL SELF SUFFICIENCY. THERE HAS BEEN AN ALARMING INCREASE IN THIS COUNTRY’S

DEPENDENCE ON GOVERNMENT WELFARE. I WANT TO MAKE IT ABSOLUTELY CLEAR TO THIS CONFERENCE THAT THIS IS A CLASSIC SOCIALIST EXERCISE IN GUARANTEEING SUPPORT FOR

THE LABOR PARTY.

DELEGATES SHOULD BE AWARE THAT ABOUT 25% OF AUSTRALIA'S VOTING POPULATION OF 10.5 MILLION DEPEND ON GOVERNMENT PAYMENTS EITHER IN PENSIONS OR WELFARE CHEQUES.

COMPARE THIS WITH ONLY 23% WHO ARE OWNERS OR EMPLOYED IN SMALL BUSINESS.

SEPARATE TO THE 25% ON GOVERNMENT BENEFITS ARE ANOTHER 28% OF THE VOTING POPULATION WHO ARE EMPLOYED OR ARE DEPENDENTS OF PUBLIC SERVANTS. IN SHORT, THE SITUATION IN AUSTRALIA IS THAT ROUGHLY 50% OF THE VOTING

POPULATION DEPENDS IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER ON THE PUBLIC PURSE.

THE NATIONAL PARTY ENTIRELY REJECTS THIS PHILOSOPHY OF DEPENDENCY. WE BELIEVE THAT AUSTRALIANS SHOULD BE TREATED AS INDIVIDUALS, LEFT TO MANAGE OUR OWN AFFAIRS IN A PROSPERING PRIVATE SECTOR LED ECONOMY, ENHANCED BY APPROPRIATE GOVERNMENT POLICIES.

I EMPHASISE ENHANCED BY GOVERNMENT POLICIES, NOT DICTATED BY GOVERNMENT DIRECTIVE.

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IN SHORT, THE NATIONAL PARTY'S NATIONAL AGENDA IS ALL ABOUT LESS GOVERNMENT, LESS TAXATION, MORE INCENTIVE AND MORE PRODUCTIVITY, A FAIR GO FOR THE FAMILY, FOR THE FARMER, FOR THE SMALL BUSINESS OPERATOR, AS PART OF

REBUILDING AUSTRALIA.

TURNING TO MORE SPECIFIC ISSUES IN THE CONTEXT OF THE NATIONAL'S NATIONAL AGENDA, LET ME BEGIN BY REFERRING TO THE DEFENCE OF AUSTRALIA IN THIS IMPORTANT NORTHERN ZONE.

ARE YOU AWARE THAT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RECENTLY ANNOUNCED THE ABOLITION OF TWO OF THE REMAINING SIX REGULAR ARMY BATTALIONS AND THAT THIS ABOLITION DATE HAS NOW BEEN BROUGHT FORWARD TO 1ST JULY 1992.

THIS REPRESENTS THE DECIMATION OF THE OPERATIONAL DEFENCE CAPACITY OF THE AUSTRALIAN ARMY AND YOU NEVER KNOW WHEN PROFESSIONAL ARMY RESOURCES WILL BE REQUIRED, BE IT TO EVACUATE AUSTRALIAN TOURISTS FROM FIJI OR FROM PAPUA NEW GUINEA DUE TO A WIDE RANGE OF CONTINGENCIES

AS AN EX 1 RAR OFFICER AND AS FEDERAL LEADER OF THE

NATIONAL PARTY, I AM TOTALLY OPPOSED TO THIS HUGE

REDUCTION IN AUSTRALIAN ARMY CAPACITY WHICH WILL ONLY BE PARTIALLY OFFSET BY THE GOVERNMENT'S READY RESERVE ALTERNATIVE.

AT THE SAME TIME SOME 5,000 CIVILIANS REMAIN IN THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENCE IN CANBERRA AND 25,000 CIVILIANS OVERALL, ALL OF WHICH RESULTS IN A VERY POOR RATIO OF CIVILIANS TO UNIFORM PERSONNEL COMPARED TO OTHER OECD COUNTRIES.

IT WILL BE AT AUSTRALIA'S PERIL IF WE TAKE THE DEFENCE OF AUSTRALIA TOO CHEAPLY AS THE PRICE OF LIBERTY IS INDEED ETERNAL VIGILANCE.

THE NATIONAL PARTY STANDS FOR A STRONG DEFENCE FORCE WITH A STRONG FOCUS ON NORTHERN AUSTRALIA, AND

PARTICULARLY THE MAINTENANCE OF ADEQUATE NORTHERN SURVEILLANCE.

TURNING FROM DEFENCE TO THE ECONOMY, THE NATIONAL PARTY'S AGENDA IS ALL ABOUT A FOUR WAY COMPACT AND

REFORM AGENDA INVOLVING INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, TAXATION, TRADE AND MICRO ECONOMIC REFORM.

% ■ · .

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FIRSTLY, WE NEED A COMPREHENSIVE REFORM PACKAGE IN RELATION TO INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS. AS JOHN HOWARD POINTS OUT, THIS MUST BEGIN WITH LEGISLATION PROVIDING FOR DIRECT CONTRACTS BETWEEN WORKERS AND MANAGEMENT AT THE ENTERPRISE LEVEL.

THERE MUST ALSO BE PROVISION FOR VOLUNTARY UNIONISM, THE RIGHT TO BELONG TO A UNION AND THE RIGHT NOT TO

BELONG TO A UNION.

THERE MUST BE PROVISION FOR ENTERPRISE UNIONS ON A MUCH SMALLER SCALE MORE RELEVANT TO THE REAL NEEDS OF

WORKERS RATHER THAN THE ALP'S CENTRALISED, ISOLATED 'TAJ MAHAL' HIERARCHICAL STRUCTURE OF HUGE UNIONS.

FINALLY, ON INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, THERE MUST BE AN ABSOLUTE COMMITMENT TO EVERYONE BEING EQUAL BEFORE THE LAW, WHETHER THEY ARE A UNIONIST INVOLVED IN AN ILLEGAL STRIKE CAUSING A SECONDARY BOYCOTT OR WHATEVER THE CASE MAY BE. THE CONCEPT OF LABOUR COURTS, OR TOY COURTS, MUST BE REJECTED.

SECONDLY, WE MUST HAVE TAXATION REFORM. AND I MEAN GENUINE TAXATION REFORM WITH LESS TAX, DIRECT AND INDIRECT, THROUGH THE ABOLITION OF CAPITAL GAINS TAX AND THE ABOLITION OF SALES TAX AND THE INTRODUCTION OF

THE GOODS AND SERVICES TAX.

THE NATIONAL PARTY RECOGNISES THE TREMENDOUS ADVANTAGES FOR RURAL AND REGIONAL AUSTRALIA THROUGH ABOLISHING THE INIQUITOUS SALES TAX REGIME AND REDUCING FUEL TAXATION ON BUSINESS, MINING, FARMING AND TOURISM.

IN FACT, ALL FUEL UTILISED FOR BUSINESS INPUTS,

INCLUDING DIESEL FUEL EXCISE UTILISED BY RAILWAYS AS BUSINESS INPUTS, WILL BE REBATED.

I ASSURE CONFERENCE, AS FEDERAL LEADER OF THE NATIONAL PARTY - AS AN ABSOLUTE COMMITMENT - THAT SALES TAX WILL BE ABOLISHED BEFORE ANY GST IS INTRODUCED.

FOR TOO LONG LAW ABIDING TAX PAYERS HAVE HAD TO PAY FAR MORE TAXATION THAN NECESSARY BECAUSE CASH ECONOMY OPERATORS HAVE FAILED TO PAY THEIR FAIR SHARE OF

TAXATION.

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UNDER A GST, WHICH IS PART OF A COMPREHENSIVE PACKAGE, TAX AVOIDANCE WILL BE FAR MORE DIFFICULT BECAUSE TAX WILL BE PAID ON CONSUMPTION RATHER THAN INCOME.

WHENEVER A WOULD-BE TAX CHEAT PURCHASES GOODS AND SERVICES THEY WILL BE PAYING TAX AND THEREFORE

CONTRIBUTING - AS THEY SHOULD.

THE GST REFORM AND THE ABOLITION OF CAPITAL GAINS TAX, REPRESENTS THE BIGGEST AVAILABLE SINGLE TILT OF THE TAXATION SYSTEM BACK TOWARDS GIVING INCENTIVE TO THE PRODUCTIVE SECTOR.

THAT IS WHY I SUPPORT IT FULLY AND WHY THE COALITION POLICY PROPOSAL MAKES COMMON SENSE IN HELPING TO REBUILD AUSTRALIA.

MR PRESIDENT, I ASK CONFERENCE DELEGATES, DOES ANYBODY SUPPORT THE HAMSHACKLED TAXATION REGIME WITH SALES TAX, WITH FUEL TAX, AND WITH INCOME TAX? IN FACT, THE VAST MAJORITY OF AUSTRALIANS KNOW IN THEIR HEARTS THAT THE

TAXATION SYSTEM IS WRONG AND IN NEED OF FUNDAMENTAL REFORM, LOOKING FOR AN APPROACH TO LESS TAXATION, LESS GOVERNMENT.

THIRDLY, WE MUST STRIVE FOR FAIR TRADE AND FREE TRADE AND FOR THIS TO BE ON A TOPS DOWN BASIS.

I RECOGNISE FAIR TRADE MUST INVOLVE ABSOLUTELY ADEQUATE ANTI DUMPING LAWS, NO COMPROMISE ON QUARANTINE AND TRUTH IN LABELLING OF FOREIGN PRODUCTS. IF IT IS JAM OR PINEAPPLE FROM JAMAICA, IT MUST BE LABELLED JAM OR

PINEAPPLE FROM JAMAICA AND AUSTRALIANS SHOULD BUY THE BEST PRODUCT - THE AUSTRALIAN PRODUCT.

THE FOURTH AREA OF COMPACT RELATES TO MICRO ECONOMIC REFORM, ESPECIALLY WITH REGARD TO THE WATERFRONT.

DO YOU KNOW THAT IT IS 26 YEARS - BACK IN 1965 - SINCE THE LAST WHARFIE WAS RECRUITED TO THE PORT OF ADELAIDE WATERFRONT. IN FACT, PORT JACKSON WENT SOME 15 YEARS, UNTIL QUITE RECENTLY, WITHOUT ANY RECRUITMENT OF NEW WHARFIES.

THIS HAS CREATED AN EXTREMELY STALE WORK CULTURE ON THE WATERFRONT, NOTWITHSTANDING ANY GOODWILL FROM THE WORKERS INVOLVED.

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THERE HAS BEEN NO SENSE OF RENEWAL, NO SENSE OF

FUNDAMENTAL PROGRESS SO NECESSARY IN THE COMPETITIVE BUSINESS OF MATCHING BEST INTERNATIONAL PRACTICE.

IF YOU REMEMBER NOTHING ELSE IN THIS SPEECH, PLEASE REMEMBER THAT IT COSTS LESS TO SHIP A CAR FROM SYDNEY TO SINGAPORE TO AUCKLAND THAN IT DOES FROM SYDNEY TO AUCKLAND, DUE TO THE UNOFFICIAL TRANS TASMAN UNION AGREEMENT PREVENTING COMPETITION ON THIS KEY ROUTE.

AS JOHN SHARP MP, SHADOW MINISTER FOR SHIPPING AND WATERFRONT REFORM, HAS ARGUED SUCCESSFULLY, AUSTRALIA MUST ACT NOW TO ESTABLISH BEST INTERNATIONAL PRACTICE CRITERIA TO TURN THIS SITUATION AROUND.

TURNING TO THREE OTHER SPECIFIC ISSUES, ROADS, WOOL AND FOREST INDUSTRIES, LET ME SAY THIS.

ON THE MATTER OF ROADS, THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MUST PROVIDE ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR THIS VITAL

INFRASTRUCTURE. IT IS A DISGRACE THAT NATIONAL HIGHWAY NO 1 BETWEEN BRISBANE AND CAIRNS WAS CLOSED FOR LONG PERIODS EARLIER THIS YEAR, IN PART DUE TO THE "UNDER­ ENGINEERING" OF A NEW BRIDGE NEAR ROCKHAMPTON.

I WILL CONTINUE TO PRESS FOR ADEQUATE ROAD FUNDING AND FOR A CLEAR CUT DEMARCATION BETWEEN LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL LEVELS WITH REGARD TO ROAD FUNDING.

TURNING TO THE WOOL INDUSTRY, I WARN THAT IN FACT THE WOOL LEGISLATION WHICH ULTIMATELY PASSED THROUGH FEDERAL PARLIAMENT LAST MONTH IS IN FACT FOR A 15% WOOL TAX, BUT BY AGREEMENT AND REGULATION WILL BE 12% FOR THE NEXT YEAR.

HAD THE DEMOCRATS HELD OUT FOR ONE HOUR LONGER OR HAD ONE DEMOCRAT RE-CROSSED THE FLOOR, THEN THE COALITION 10% WOOL TAX POSITION WOULD HAVE WON.

IN ANY EVENT, OUR SHEET ANCHOR ROLE IN STANDING BY THE 10% WOOL TAX WAS VITAL IN BRINGING ABOUT THE

BREAKTHROUGH.

WE NEED TO LOOK TO THE FUTURE AND THERE IS A GREAT

FUTURE FOR THE AUSTRALIAN WOOL INDUSTRY.

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FINALLY, MR PRESIDENT, I WOULD LIKE TO HIGHLIGHT THE HYPOCRISY OF THE GOVERNMENT, ESPECIALLY THE MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND ENERGY, MR SIMON CREAN, WHO CONTINUES TO LECTURE AROUND THIS COUNTRY ABOUT VALUE ADDING.

IF THE MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND ENERGY IS SERIOUS ABOUT VALUE ADDING, HE SHOULD BEGIN WITH THE FOREST INDUSTRIES.

THE FOREST INDUSTRY IS THE ONE SECTOR IN THE DEPRESSED AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY CAPABLE OF CREATING GENUINE

EMPLOYMENT IN REGIONAL AUSTRALIA - PARTICULARLY IN WESTERN AUSTRALIA - AND OF DRAMATICALLY REDUCING THE TRADE DEFICIT.

WITH MODERN SAWMILL TECHNOLOGY, BOARD MADE FROM

WOODCHIPS CAN BE COVERED WITH A VENEER AND MADE INTO HIGH CLASS FURNITURE.

HOWEVER THIS GOVERNMENT, OF WHICH MR CREAN IS A MEMBER OF CABINET, HAS REFUSED TO GUARANTEE RESOURCES, PARTICULARLY TO PROJECTS WORTH LESS THAN $100 MILLION, WHICH MEANS THAT AUSTRALIAN SAWMILLS WILL NOT INVEST IN

THE REQUIRED TECHNOLOGY FOR FEAR OF RUNNING OUT OF RESOURCES.

AUSTRALIA IS STILL BURNING ABOUT $100 MILLION WORTH OF SUITABLE WOODCHIP MATERIAL ON FOREST FLOORS RATHER THAN ALLOWING IT TO BE CHIPPED AND EXPORTED.

AUSTRALIA IS ALSO CONTINUING TO EXPORT WOODCHIPS THAT COULD BE FURTHER PROCESSED INTO PULP.

WHILE THE GOVERNMENT HAS SAID THAT IT INTENDS TO STOP EXPORTING WOODCHIPS BY THE YEAR 2000, IT HAS NOT GIVEN THE INDUSTRY THE CONFIDENCE IN THE FUTURE SUPPLY OF RESOURCES THAT IS NECESSARY FOR PRIVATE ENTERPRISE TO BUILD PULP MILLS.

AUSTRALIA'S FOREST POLICIES ARE A MESS OF AD HOC AND HYPOCRITICAL POLICIES MADE ON THE RUN TO PACIFY EVERY GREEN SQUEAKY WHEEL.

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AT THE SAME TIME, THOUGH, THE MINISTER FOR PRIMARY INDUSTRIES AND ENERGY GOES ABOUT THE COUNTRY TALKING ABOUT VALUE ADDING AS IF IT IS SOME NEW SUBJECT OR NEW IDEA.

UNTIL THE GOVERNMENT DEVELOPS A SENSIBLE POLICY WHICH ALLOWS INVESTMENT IN PULP AND PAPER MILLS, VALUE ADDING IN AUSTRALIA IS A JOKE AND OUR CURRENT TRADE DEFICIT OF $2.2 BILLION INCURRED BY IMPORTING TIMBER PRODUCTS, IS

DESTINED TO GET WORSE.

IN SHORT, THERE IS NO WAY THAT INDUSTRIES WILL EVEN COMMENCE FEASIBILITY STUDIES OR UNDERTAKE THE NECESSARY ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES UNTIL RESOURCE IS GUARANTEED - WHO CAN BLAME THEM.

THIS GOVERNMENT IS PROCRASTINATING AND TINKERING ON THE EDGES, WHILE AUSTRALIANS ARE DESPERATE FOR WORK AND DESPERATE FOR FOREIGN INCOME.

MR PRESIDENT, TURNING TO PARTY MATTERS, I WANT TO

SALUTE YOU ON YOUR CONTRIBUTION IN YOUR FIRST YEAR AS STATE PRESIDENT; AT THE SAME TIME I ALSO SALUTE STATE HEAD OFFICE FOR THEIR CONTRIBUTION OVER THE LAST TWELVE MONTHS.

EQUALLY I SALUTE THE WORK OF HENDY COWAN AND THE STATE PARLIAMENTARY PARTY.

I ALSO CONGRATULATE ALL INVOLVED IN THE GERALDTON BI­ ELECTION CAMPAIGN. IT'S GREAT TO SEE A SWING OF THIS DIMENSION TO THE NATIONAL PARTY AND I AM VERY

ENCOURAGED BY THE BASE LEVEL OF SUPPORT FOR THE

NATIONAL PARTY - A BASE LEVEL WHICH WE CAN AND MUST

WORK ON.

IN SUMMING UP, CAN I SAY TO WESTERN AUSTRALIAN

DELEGATES THAT AS LEADER OF THE NATIONAL PARTY I AM CONSCIOUS OF A BELIEF THAT THE FEDERAL NATIONAL PARTY, IN OPPOSITION, IS THROWING US ALL INTO A BRAVE NEW

WORLD.

I AM ALSO CONSCIOUS OF THE TEMPTATIONS OF A MORE

GRADUALIST APPROACH, BUT THAT RARELY WORKS AND FRANKLY AUSTRALIA IS BEYOND 'TINKERING ON THE TITANIC'.

NEVER AGAIN WILL THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE BE ABLE TO SAY THAT THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT WE STAND FOR.

THE NATIONAL PARTY WILL NOT BE ATTEMPTING TO HOODWINK THE AUSTRALIAN PEOPLE. IT HAS NEVER WORKED IN THE PAST AND IT WON'T WORK IN THE FUTURE.

THERE IS A NEED FOR ADJUSTMENT IN THIS COUNTRY. WE MUST COMPARE OURSELVES WITH WORLD BEST PRACTICE. WE MUST BE MORE COMPETITIVE OR THE WORLD WILL PASS US BY AND OUR CHILDREN WILL NEVER THANK US FOR THEIR LOWERED

LIVING STANDARDS.

MR PRESIDENT, I SAY THAT WHETHER IT IS IN RELATION TO THE INCREDIBLE FEDERAL DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL INTRODUCED BY A LABOR'S RON EDWARDS, MEMBER FOR STIRLING, ALREADY PASSED THROUGH THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND NOW BEFORE THE SENATE, WHICH WOULD SET IN CONCRETE DAYLIGHT SAVING WITHOUT A REFERENDUM, IMPOSING IT FROM CANBERRA ON THE STATES, OR WHETHER IT IS IN RELATION TO OTHER CRITICAL ISSUES PERTAINING TO COUNTRY AND COASTAL AUSTRALIA, THE FEDERAL NATIONAL PARTY WILL TAKE A STAND AND WILL FIGHT ON YOUR BEHALF.

INDEED, I CONFIRM CATEGORICALLY OUR TOTAL OPPOSITION TO THE FEDERAL DAYLIGHT SAVING BILL, AND I WISH CONFERENCE WELL.