Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of Dr John Hewson MP address to Cattlemen's Union 1991 annual convention



Download PDFDownload PDF

33? - . 3:

Leader of the Opposition

At/cjusf 27 1991 TPT/NM/0001

TRANSCRIPT OF DR JOHN HEWSON MP ADDRESS TO CATTLEMEN'S UNION 1991 ANNUAL CONVENTION MT ISA CIVIC CENTRE, MT ISA

E & OE PROOF COPY ONLY

Des Whittle, my Parliamentary colleague, Ian Macdonald, and other Parliamentary colleagues that are here that I can't see, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen.

I'm very pleased to be here today to have this opportunity to talk to you about the future direction of our country and some of the issues that are before us at the present time. I'm very pleased to be back here in Mt Isa. I was here six months ago, and I can't emphasise to you the dramatic difference, or the dramatic contrasts between my experience last time and on this occasion. Last time, as we flew in, the town was surrounded by

floodwaters. I don't think you've had a drop of rain since by the look of it. You must be bordering on drought at the present time.

I stand here today, not as one who brought down a budget last week that did nothing. I stand here today, not as one whose

party is divided fundamentally into a very bitter factional dispute. So I therefore can assure that I will not spend the first third of my speech talking about what is happening in the Soviet Union.

That's not to aay that it isn't very important - don't get me wrong - what's happening in the Soviet Union. But we do have a recession in Australia - the worst in 60 years, and we are in desperate need of our own process of Perestroika at the present

time, and it's about that that I wish to speak to you today.

I 'm told that at breakfast this morning David Boundy was relating a story about the Prime Minister, and how some kid had saved him in his early days from drowning. I have had the distinct

impression since I arrived here that some people think perhaps he should have been thrown back.

I looked at your title for your convention - Mt Isa Muster. Beef is the Business. And I couldn't help but think about that famous George Bush attack on the Democrats for no policies in the recent Presidential election in the United States, when he said to them

"Where's the beef?" And I put it to you that if you read last week's budget in any detail, you would ask exactly the same question - "where's the beef?" It was a budget that did nothing to address the fundamental economic problems that confront this

country at the present time.

Hewson:

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Phone 277 4022

So I thought I 'd begin my remarks by saying something about how we eee circumstances and where we think they've got to be taken. I was also asked to specifically comment on free trade, and our attitude to international competition and unfair competition in particular, so I thought I'd finish my remarks on that subject and then happily take questions for just about as long as you want to.

We see the present circumstances as the most difficult, yet the most challenging in the last 50 or 60 years in Australia. Now you don't need me to stand up and tell an industry group like this just how rough things have been in recent years. With

record levels of personal bankruptcies, record business failures, embarrassingly record excesses in the corporate sector, now unemployment admitted by the Government to reach 10.75% this financial year, and likely to stick around 10% for 2 to 3 years at the very least. And of course, I think most disturbingly, we've seen the destruction of the basic wealth-generat 1 ng sectors of the Australian economy over the last few years. And 1 find

it absolutely appalling that a government would admit that this was a result of deliberate policy; that this was the recession you had to have; these were the businesses that had to go broke

in order to try and deal with our balance of payments and debt and inflation problems.

Now, against that background I would have thought that the pressure on the Government last week would have been incredible for them to actually start to address those problems and start to turn this country around.

The electorate is crying out for people to take the hard-headed decisions and to carry them through. The electoral support is there for the Government to actually do the job it was put there to do. What I find staggering is that they brought down a budget

that had nothing to do with that reality; which promised even worse unemployment; which had measures like superannuation, which is supposed to be good, and we do need a superannuation scheme in this country. But to achieve it by taxing an already

desperate corporate sector, shows an appalling misunderstanding of the circumstances a» they exist in Australia today. And of course, to do that at what will be a cost of an additional

100,000 people being unemployed, just simply boggles the mind.

And on top of that you had a whole array of other spending

initiatives. The "Looney Left" have taken over in terms of their influence on the broad direction of Government spending. We are going to have a "mad cities" fantasy where Brian Howe is going to determine the type of cities you live in and the width of the footpaths, and where the trees go and what sort of buildings and so on. It is absolutely preposterous that a government can be contemplating centralising that sort of decision-making in Canberra, and committing $800 million over the next 5 years on this "mad cities" fantasy. And I put the question to the Prime Minister last week - imagine how the person on the CES dole queue

feels when he reads that you're going to spend $800 million on revamping our cities - and they have little prospect of returning

- 3-

to the workforce in what could be as long as three to five, or maybe even longer, years in terms of our current economic

circumstances. And it will be a great satisfaction, I'm sure, to those on the doles queues to know that they will have better pavements on which they can queue up on; or that the homeless will have better parks in which they can sleep; or there will be designer soup kitchens and some of these other mad ideas that emerge from the Looney Left. A very appalling mis judgment of the magnitude of our economic problems and the job that has to be done.

I put it to you that in current circumstances, there is no

alternative but to call it the way it is, and to advocate the policies that are required. Our country is slipping quite dramatically and significantly, relative to those with which we compete in other parts of the world. We used to rank as number one in the world in terms of living standards. We now rank in

the high teens, and the process of decline and slippage goes on.

The electorate wants those decisions taken, and I believe they will support politicians who are prepared to argue the case, even if some of it is going to be difficult; even if some of those decisions are going to be hard to explain in the run up to an

election campaign. But we cannot go beyond where we are at the present time without calling a halt, giving an honest assessment of what's got to be done and then getting on and doing it.

So, broadly, I wanted to talk to you today about some of the decisions I think have got to be taken in Australia, in order to turn our circumstances around. .

The place to begin is obviously with the most important area of inefficiency - and that is the labour market. And Des, in his introduction referred to the fact that we need to do something about national productivity. National productivity is the only

reliable way of turning our circumstances around - boosting our national production, boosting the quality of our output, improving our export performance and starting to trade our way out of a debt problem that is now emerging as acquiring 1930*s

proportions. Boosting national productivity is fundamentally related to the wage determination system that we have in

Australia, and it's in part related to the tax system we have in Australia.

Now you've had an Accord for 8 years - and the Accord has not given us any improvement in national productivity. That, apart from anything else, ought to be a substantial reason for

scrapping the Accord. But if you look at it, why would you, as a worker in Australia, work harder or smarter, or contribute more, or improve the quality of your output, when you don't have any influence over the wage decision process. The decisions are made by Bill Kelty and the Treasurer or the Prime Minister in

some secret meeting in the Lodge, or Kirrlbllli House or

somewhere - totally unrelated to the circumstances in any part of Australia. And every year, for eight years, you've had 6, 7

- 4-

or 8% wage increases - why would you bother working any harder, when you're going to get the 6 or 7 or 8% wage increase anyway.

The system is an essential part of the problem in Australia. It is not a solution, as the Government would have us believe. And I believe there's only one way in which we can move that system in the correct direction, and that is to put wage negotiations back to the individual workplace around Australia. Moreover, the whole system has priced us out of international markets. There

are major cost disadvantages between Australia and other countries in terms of labour market inefficiencies. Our work practices are an international embarrassment to Australia. You have only got to look at some of the practices that dominate the waterfront, for example - the extreme case - to know how bad they

are, but in your industry, you know the costs of processing beef are dramatically less. They're dramatically more sorry than they are in other parts of the world - I think about 4 times what they are in the United States, and that is principally because of those work practices. Yet we've had a system that, every year, has paid wage increases, relative to productivity, that are

roughly double those of our trading partners - for the whole decade of the 1980s. It is very difficult to be internationally competitive when every year, you price yourself out of

international markets more and more.

The only way to solve that problem is to get Bill Kelty and the Government out of that process of wage determination, and put it back where it matters, at the individual workplace. And in that process, you have your best hope of breaking down some of those

inefficient work and management practices. It is the only place, I believe, where you can get a commonality of purpose - where the workers end the employers can sit down and decide on objectives. They can decide on how profitability is going to be divided up,

or productivity improvement is going to be split - and that's very important. It's got to be split to the worker by way of opportunity to earn more. It's got to be split to the employer - better profitability, and it's got to be split to the consumer -

lower prices. And if you get that focus, the whole industrial relatione system will change, and we have our best hope of boosting national productivity.

And if you think about it, there are some structural changes that are essential to turning that around. You have to outlaw

compulsory unionism and closed shops, and that sort of thing, which gives no hope of actually running an effective workplace negotiation - if there's that degree of union thuggery and union influence able to be exercised over the process. Both parties

in fact - employers and employees - ought to be put on the same legal footing, so that they have direct rights of legal action against each other for wrongful behaviour on either*s part.

And of course, you'd need to also facilitate the possibility of enterprise union* - not 20 national, big unions, big government type approach - but arrange for the possibility of a union to be formed at the workplace, but only if the workers want it. And

- 5-

that is fundamentally important. They should be given the choice - an open choice as to whether they want to negotiate themselves, or they want to have a union negotiate on their behalf. And they are the fundamental changes that ought to be made in industrial

relations. And that's just simply got to happen in a country like Australia.

I put it to you that the Prime Minister's statement yesterday in his speech is a sad commentary of representing eight years of failure to address that problem. And I will just take one quote. He said yesterday "The Australian meat industry is characterised by a maze of complex awards and over-award agreements. Such an environment is a breeding ground for discontent and mistrust." Can you believe, after eight years of being in a position to

fundamentally change that, he turned up here and basically said "well, you know, it's a breeding ground for discontent and mistrust". It's also a fundamental reason why you struggle at times in cracking international markets because of a lack of price competitiveness.

But equally, it's not enough just to do the labour market. Labour market reform is fundamental. The estimates are there. You can get a 25% boost in national productivity by going to workplace negotiations. They're not our estimates. They are the Business Council estimates, or the estimates that have been

confirmed by others.

But you don't only want to change that focus. You want to give people an opportunity to keep more of what they earn and in fact, to have some say over the amount of tax they pay. And that is why it is fundamentally important that we have tax reform as well

as labour market reform.

The whole tax reform debate is one that, obviously, engenders a lot of emotion and a lot of concern. But it is fundamental to making those labour market processes work. It's fundamental to restoring productivity. Because not only do you want to give people the opportunity to earn more, but they may not take that opportunity if you don't give them the opportunity to keep more.

And so we're about tax reform, that simplifies the system, that makes it fairer, and that most importantly, lowers the burden of tax on individuals and corporations.

Now anybody who has looked at our tax system would agree that it's too complex; that it's too unfair. It favours particular groups, or particular activities, and of course, it brings in, in total, a burden of tax which is a major disincentive for people to work hard or to open a business, or to expand a

business, or to save, or any of the things that are fundamentally important to turning this country around.

That's why, in that context, you've got to be prepared to debate the issue of |a Goods and Services Tax. It is a fundamental element of what's got to be done to turn our economy around, because it's fundamental to the process of tax reform.

- 6-

Now I ’m not crazy. I'm not standing here advocating a new tax, and I'm not standing here advocating increased tax. And I'm not, as the Prime Minister is suggesting, trying to destroy the lives of average working Australians by proposing tax reform. It is

fundamental to actually improving the lives of working

Australians. And what he's showing in making that statement is an acute sensitivity to the fact that he has built a tax system that has disadvantaged average Australians, and it's

disadvantaged small to medium sized business - and he's acutely sensitive about that. He hasn't got the power to do anything about it - or he has but he won't exercise it. He won't take on Bill Kelty and force through a process of tax reform. But that process is fundamental to turning this country around.

Look at the PAYE taxpayer, taking home an average wage, they have been disadvantaged under this Government for the whole period of this Government and they've gone backwards. They don't have the opportunity of all the tax rorte that are available to the rich: exploiting the superannuation area; cheating on the fringe benefits system; embarking on negative gearing; they don't have

those opportunities. The tax is taken out of their pay packet before they go home and so they can't do anything about their tax burden and overtime, of course, that burden has got worse. Now, if you earn a little more than $20,000, that is about two-thirds of average income in Auetralia, you are suddenly paying nearly

forty cents in the dollar tax. If you go to $36,000, a bit above average income in Australia, you start paying 47.25 cents in the dollar.

That is why there is no incentive. That is why people won't work harder even if you give them the opportunity. That is why they won't save - particularly if you run an Inflationary environment. They won · t save when they know they' are going to have to pay that

sort of tax and that inflation is going to eat up the rest of their gains so that they actually go backwards. So no wonder the country doesn't have savings and no wonder the country borrows so much money from the rest of the world. The tax system is

fundamentally important. You have got to change it in order to restore those incentives.

With a broad-based goods and services tax it opens up those opportunities. We can abolish the wholesale sales tax for a start. Secondly we can compensate those who will be

disadvantaged - those low income earners like pensioners and others that can't do anything about a change in the price level. But most importantly we can fundamentally change the personal tax system to restore incentive to work and Incentives to save.

That is what we are on about. You have got to be clear about one thing - there is no magic pudding. If there was a magic pudding, if there was an easy way of giving you a few extra dollars in your pocket, don't you think that Bob Hawke would have used it years ago? What we are really trying to do to you is to get you

to understand that if you change your behaviour, if you lift your game, if you improve your work habits, you eliminate those work

- 7-

and management practices, if you start to save more - than you will be better off.

If you sit on your tail and expect the rest of the world to pick you up then you w o n ’t. We have a fair degree of that in

Australia already - don't we. If you look at the PAYE tax bill, that is the amount of money we collect from that average payer - 68 cents in the dollar in 1982/83 went to support the social security system. Today 86 cents in the dollar goes to support the social security system. Those who work are increasingly supporting those who can't work and those who don't work. So an essential link with tax reform is to cut government expenditure

and target welfare expenditure better so that you lift some of that burden off the average worker as well as, of course, giving the average worker more money back in their pocket and that is what the goods and services tax change does - the money goes into your pocket and then to an extent you decide what tax you pay depending on how you consume.

From the business point of view, from the rural sector point of view the changes in that tax system are fundamentally important.

Right now the transportation and freight system pays about $4.5 billion worth of wholesale sales tax. That tax will be abolished under that change and any goods and services tax that would be levied would be rebated to the individual businesses that are

involved in that process. It is overwhelmingly beneficial to the rural sectors of Australia. It is overwhelmingly beneficial to the small business sector of Australia. It is overwhelmingly beneficial to the exporters who currently pay $1.25 billion of wholesales sales tax.

I can give you one specific example: I spoke to the heavy

trucking industry a few weeks ago. We found out that they paid $1 billion in wholesale sales tent. They pay it on their rigs and a rig is about $300,000+. That is $60,000 they are paying in wholesale sales tax. On their tyres, on their fuel, on their

spare parts - all that would be abolished under the tax system we are advocating and any goods and services tax would be

rebateable to those individual truckles. You can see as you go through this process enormous benefits that are there and the literature we will be releasing, in due course, identifies these groups and explains those benefits in a considerable amount of detail.

Just to summarise, labour market reform, tax reform, cutting government expenditure are fundamental. It is not just cutting government expenditure because it is reducing the size of government - the role and influence of government: all those bureaucracies that have been built; all those public servants

that have been spread across the country in the name of social justice; all those regulations that have been put in place; all the business enterprises that the government tries to run and has proved time and time again it is hopeless at running. You have

- 8-

got to privatise all those business enterprises. You have got to contract out the delivery of a whole host of government

services and you have got to cut back on those bureaucratic positions that have been created all in the process of

centralising control rather than decentralising control.

It is not just equally labour market and tax either. The rest of the system under which you operate and find major

disadvantages has got to be addressed. That is what Mr Keating used to call micro-reform - basically cutting the cost

disadvantages of industries. Those cost disadvantages relate to transport, road and rail, particularly rail, airline services, electricity generation, telecommunications charges and the

waterfront. All of those areas give you major cost

disadvantages. They hold you back from being as competitive as you can be on the international market. One the great tragedies of our country is that you can be a super-efficient beef producer

at the farm, or wheat grower at the farm, or miner down the mine, but when you move the goods by rail, or clear them through the waterfront, you start to pay away the cost disadvantages you started out with. And we should settle for nothing less than

best international practice in all those areas.

Our waterfront reform process is a joke. The Government has failed to address the issue, because it's failed to confront the unions on the waterfront and argue the case for substantial reform. They're making marginal change. The telecommunications process is a joke. We're going to have a second competitor - Aussat. Aussat's already lost $500 million - great start for the

new competitor - maybe only then be able to access the Telecom land mines at a price Telecom determines - a second great start for the new competitor. In the year we've just got fid of the two airline policy because it didn't work, we're going to have

the two phone policy. It won't work either. It won't give you the cost advantages that ought to be there. Same as rail freight transport for example - fundamental problems in Australia. Do you know it's more expensive to try and run the railways in

Victoria than it is to close them down and to give every average commuter a small car? That system is grinding to a halt. What I ’m saying to you is, you can't tinker with that. You can't have the Prime Minister sitting up all night pretending he's

negotiating with his mates on the waterfront for a new deal, only to find out the next morning you're going backwards.

There is no substitute for fundamental change in these areas. Those problems have to be met head-on. They relate to a lack of competition. They relate to inefficient work and management practices, or they relate to government regulation. They've got

to be addressed up front. And there's no partial change there. You can't tinker. The Budget tries to tinker - we go backwards. You've got to make a quantum leap of substantial change if you're going to turn those industries and eliminate the cost

disadvantages-

** TOTAL PAGE.009 **

- 9-

I heard an example recently of the best way to make that point. Suppose a government decides that they’re going to change the side of the road on which we drive. Instead of driving on the left hand aide of the road, we're going to drive on the right hand side of the road. But they're only going to do it with a

marginal approach. That is, they're going to start by moving the heavy trucks across on the first day. It never works, and it can be counter-productive - right? There's no substitute for doing it all at midnight, one point in time. And that's really what

I'm saying.

in tax, in labour market, in infrastructure reform, there is no alternative but for the quantum leap and the substantial change. And what we've got to be prepared to do as politicians today is argue that case. Be prepared to risk our political career on the

fact that that change has got to be made. We can't possible continue with a world where you tinker and make things worse.

The final area of change, which I'll mention briefly, protection. We have committed ourselves to zero industry protection by the year 2000. That is an essential part of what's got to be done. Now clearly, if you just cut industry protection, a lot of people

are going to go broke. But if you do it as part of that whole

reform agenda, I have yet to find one manufacturer in Australia who can prove to me thet he'd be worse off, because you eliminate the cost disadvantages - their bottom line improves dramatically, and they don't need protection.

So we are arguing for efficiency first. And efficiency must be given a chance in this country before we try any other form of approach. That lead· me to the final area I've been asked to talk about, which is to set the Australian economy in the

international context, where while we're pursuing efficiency in Australia, we're becoming super cost-competitive, while we're eliminating protection and so on, we are living in a world full of corrupt market practices. A world where there's heavy

subsidisation of exports in different countries of the world. And the most visible concern of that in your case is agricultural protectionism.

Just as we've got to be prepared to face those tough decisions in Australia to get our house in order, and I believe we have to do that whatever else happens, equally we've got to be prepared to lift our game offshore, in putting our case to these

countries, in arguing for change. In negotiating change.

I'm a firm believer in the GATT process, even though it is in its last days, and even though the progress so far has been minimal, to be the most generous we could be. But we still can make

fundamental change. The essential problem is a common

agricultural policy of Europe. Heavy subsidisation of European agriculture; now dumping into markets that we think have been traditionally our markets; unfair competition. That has bred the US response. The Export Enhancement Program - where they've decided to make the life of the Europeans that much harder by

- 10-

starting to subsidise some of their exports into other markets, and wheat is the most visible example of that in recent days. And what happens to us, as efficient agricultural producers in Australia? We get a double whammy. We get hit by the Europeans

first. We get hit by the Americans second.

in those circumstances we have to use everything we've got to put the case to these people about the impact that that can have on a country like Australia. And then we have to do a couple of Other things as wel1.

Now recently, I took the opportunity - at the end of the Gulf War - I suggested to the Prime Minister, he and I had better lead a major delegation then to the United States to see if we could establish some understanding about the post-Gulf War market

shares in the Middle East. I was concerned, at the end of the war, the whole world would change and we'd get squeezed out. He mocked us in the Parliament for a few weeks, and then finally sent a lower level delegation to the United States. And there's been nothing but confusion ever since, as to what George Bush meant when he said that he'd take all due care in assessing our position in relation to traditional markets.

I then went to the United States and I met with President Bush and Secretary Baker and Agriculture Secretary Madigan, and Carla Hills, the Trade Negotiator, and everyone else I could get to see, as well as Members on Capital Hill, to put our case directly

about how we have been a very strong alliance partner. We've always been a strong supporter of that alliance. But they are risking ostracising what has been traditionelly a very concerted and supportive constituency in Australia - namely rural Australia. And they ought to understand the magnitude of the

hurt and the pain that is being felt in the worst rural crisis in Australia in 60 years.

Now we only made marginal progress. We got the consultative process that had been foreshadowed as a possibility up and running, eo that we can at least start to get an understanding of where they're going. I then went on to Brussels and I put the

same case the European Community.

Recently the Prime Minister has come back and said - well, he'd like to take up the original suggestion - that we send a

delegation off to the States and Europe, and he wants to send another low-level delegation. He's not prepared to go himself, which is the best way. If he and I lead it, it's our best

chance. You can't hold out a lot of hope, but at least you’re giving it your best shot, instead of your second best shot, which is the way he prefers to go.

Why? Because he's too scared to leave the country. He can't trust Paul back here when he's away. It's the only reason he's not going. It's the only reason he won't go. He won't put his survival second to the survival of rural Australia - not this

Prime Minister. But that's what he ought to be doing, and he

r

-*

( /

- 11-

ought to be going now and putting the case. And not just to the American·, and not just to the European Community, but to Germany and to France and to those countries who are actually going to make this decision.

And why I haven’t given up on GATT is that there are real

pressures in Europe. Germany’s job of reunification is much bigger than they thought. It'» costing them a lot more money. They feel the strain of subsidising inefficient French farmers. The time may never be better than in the next few months of this year to actually make substantial progress in the GATT, and that

is fundamental.

But beyond GATT, we need to do other things as well. We need, importantly, to recognise that as a region, the Asia-Pacific region offers us our principal future. It will be the fastest- growing region of the world. In forty years’ time, the Asia-

Pacific market will be more than twice the size of the American market and the European market added together. That is where our potential lies. Four and a half billion people in forty years'

time, and we should be acting now to make sure we get the best market circumstances we can down the track.

We've had some individual negotiations, obviously, in relation to Japan, and the Korean market, Taiwanese market and so on. But there are opportunities now to actually start to bring down trading barriers in that region. W e ’ve been putting a proposal based on APEC, which is the Asia Pacific Economic Co-Operation Forum - a group of the major Asian nations. It's a proposal to build a free trade zone in the Asia-Pacific region. Not an

exclusive trade zone, not one that puts tariff walls and other restrictions up against the rest of the world. One that is consistent with GATT, but brings -down those trading barriers. I put that proposal directly to Secretary Baker, and he said he'd support. He said he would give it 100% support. He thinks it's

fundamental that we start that process. And just as they're building a North American market, it would be good to see that market spread into the Asia Pacific region, so we can really get access in a trading sense, down the track, to a much larger and

more significant and effective market for our agricultural products, or hopefully, if we get some of those other decisions taken, we can get some value added in some of these areas as

well, as a major export industry.

The potential is enormous in Australia. We Sit right on the edge of that region - the fastest growing region of the world, and if we can make those trade changes now, we are well on the way to ensuring a very long-term, viable future, not only for our

traditional industries like agriculture and mining and so on - also value added in those areas, as well as in other manufactures and in the service sector.

The ball is at our feet. We need to kick it if we are going to

get started into the game.

V

- 12-

*

And of course finally, we can go beyond that to individual negotiation». And I got great heart, for example, this year, when I led a business delegation to Taiwan - an area that I know you trade with, but an area that has generally been neglected by

the Government, because they can't make up their mind about the Chinas. We've got a one-China policy, and we've got three

notional Chinas. I argued, within the existing diplomatic constraints, you can do them all, in relation to countries like Taiwan. So I went there, and I argued the case in relation to the beef restrictions that exist - the discrimination, if you

like, against Australia, in favour of the United States, in certain types of beef.

Now, it is a very difficult thing for the Taiwanese to address that. But it is an area in which we can make real progress if

we sustain the pressure, because they will ultimately, 1 believe, renegotiate that position with the United States. And while I was there, I also argued the case for wheat. We haven't been into the Taiwanese market in wheat since 1978. I think you will

see, this year, some headway into that market.

So the Government can do a lot. It can put the case globally. It can put the case regionally, and it can put the case bi­

laterally. And that's what the Government ought to be doing, while it's importantly getting its houee in order back here in Australia.

So I put it to you, the choice is very simple. We are in the

worst circumstances that we've been in, in 50 or 60 years. And the pain and hardship associated with this recession is

unbelievable in the experience of most living Australians that I've met. And we can either, in those circumstances, sit out tail and complain, or we can get off our tail and force the

Government to get on and do what it has got to do, in order to

change policies. And of course, individually, we've all got to do our part in changing our attitudes - to get on and turn our country around.

And that's why I say to you, there's no substitute right now for calling it the way it is, and for advocating major change. And if it's politically difficult major change, well, so be it. We just work a bit harder, explaining our case. And there's a

challenge for organisations like yours. You will either want to be part of that process of change. You will want to get out

there in the vanguard of fighting for change, or you don't. And it's a real choice. Because it's about time in Australia people stood up and were counted for what they believe in, and for what changes they want made.

Thank you.

Ends.

** TOTAL PAGE.004 **