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Keating adds dishonesty to his bow



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a i H . e oS„n „ M e d ia R elease

21/91 6 February 1991

KEATING ADDS DISHONESTY TO HIS BOW

Mr Keating's complacency and arrogance as Australia falls further into a self-sustaining debt trap was well demonstrated in his media appearances yesterday.

It should not be forgotten that less than a year ago he was

telling Australians that there would not be a recession here or abroad and that getting inflation down to 5 to 6 per cent was about as good as one could expect. And he was ridiculing the Coalition in Parliament for suggesting an objective of

eliminating inflation.

So it should not surprise us that he has fallen into the trap of most Labor Treasurers who find that they have to defend gross policy miscalculations and rising concerns about their incompetence. He attempts to highlight particular achievements

and ignores the big picture.

Nobody denies that there have been some achievements in Australia in recent years . The pick up in some manufacturing exports from a low base is one of them, even though large sections are being decimated. The prospect of lower inflation is another although

it has largely been achieved by the unsustainable devastation of corporate profitability.

But these gains must be placed in the overall context of the serious debt problems faced by the country which have been left to fester through the boom years in the world economy and must now be tackled, with great pain, in a subsequent period of significant slowdown which Mr Keating admits he did not foresee.

It is one thing to be complacent and arrogant, but quite another to be dishonest.

On 'The 7.30 Report' last night, he deceitfully slipped the following sentence into the end of the interview (when he knew that time constraints prevented him being contradicted)«

"If you go back to the 1980's, the growth in the debt to GDP levels in this country occurred between 1980, the big jump between 1980 and 1984."

The attached chart shows clearly who created the debt legacy.

Remember that the Labor Government was elected in March 1983 and had it in their power to tackle Australia's problems from that point on.

j COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH I . . . . _____ __—

2/

At the end of the fiscal year 1982/83, gross debt stood at around 21 percent of GDP and net debt at almost 14.00 percent. At

September 1990 Treasury figures show the ratio at 42.0 percent and 33.4 percent respectively. Meanwhile, the debt service ratio (total interest paid abroad to total exports of goods and services) has risen from 11.5 percent in June 1983 to

24.2 percent in September 1990.

Mr Keating should tell Australians the truth about their

predicament and what needs to be done rather than trying to lay the blame on everyone else.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: (02) 251 8915

LEVEL OF FOREIGN DEBT PER CENT GDP % GDP

40

30

20

10

0

V,

KEATING S LEGACY STARTS HER

111 I I

T i I

Mill 1 1 q l f I i I i I I | | I I I % % % % % % - a l l 11111 1 1 m III m in1970 1972 1974 1976 1978 1980 1982 1984 1986 1988 1990 1992J__INET DEBT H U GROSS DEBT