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Keating prepares the ground

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93/91 19 April 1991


The Treasurer today threw down the gauntlet to the Prime Minister.

Perform or leave I

The Prime Minister has been mortally wounded by the events of the last two weeks concerning WA Inc.

His Parliamentary performance was dreadful.

And there is more to come as Mr Burke and others are required under oath to reveal the misdeeds of the WA Labor era during the 1980s.

Events over the last week in Parliament have clearly left the Federal Labor Party backbench on edge and it is no co­ incidence that talk of a leadership change emanated from factional meetings.

The Indians are restive as they see their chief facing the prospect of a debilitating week by week defence of his associeLluiiH with the murxy rigures of WA inc. over the next six to nine months.

Mr Keating has seen his opportunity to prepare his ground for what he knows will be his last chance for leadership. In his EPAC speech today he set down a virtual manifesto, complete with his rosy forecast of the future co-incidence of the

economic and political cycle.

It is a speech designed to give hope to the flagging spirits of the Labor party.

It is a speech designed to say that Keating is Labor's


At first blush one could be forgiven for thinking it was a speech from our side of politics.

It appears to embrace the labour and micro-economic reforms long advocated by the Coalition parties.

It advocates privatisation and improvements to business enterprise management.

But, they are words without substance! ' \-- COMMONWEZ LiL-;v· 1 1 PARLiAMENTAir tvliCAt*

His allegiances to the Union movement and his need to "buy out" the ALP factions restrict his scope for genuine action.

The Keating manifesto is undone in the final paragraph which reveals the fundamental contradiction of trying to achieve enterprise bargaining within a centralised system which produces agreed wage outcomes.

This approach is illogical, unworkable and inherently dishonest.

It shows that a Keating-led Labor Government would be just as flawed as the Hawke-led Government - bound by its mates in the ACTU to a rigid wages system which will stifle economic reforms and ensure that Mr Keating's grand plan will never get

off the ground.