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Honesty and Integrity

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John Hewson Leader of the Opposition M e d i a R e l e a s e

40/91 20 February 1991


We are in the midst of the worst recession for at least five


To pull out of it we will need brave decisions and urgent action.

The starting point is honesty.

We must have an honest assessment of Australia's problems and an honest appraisal of the options for sustainable recovery.

But we are not getting honesty from this Prime Minister, from his Treasurer or from his Ministers.

The people of Australia expect from this Parliament legitimate debate on the serious issues that confront this country.

This debate must be based on acceptance of the fact that there are opposing views, each with a right to be heard.

Yet for the past three days in this Parliament we have had

misrepresentation piled upon misrepresentation.

The Prime Minister, the Treasurer and their Ministers have knowingly distorted the Opposition's views and invented their own version of our policies in a blatant bout of fear mongering.

How extraordinary that the Prime Minister should try to berate me for simply being willing to look at a full range of ideas in the midst of a recession.

What does he think politics is about?

Has he forgotten his own memos to Ministers appealing for their ideas on how to help the Government struggle out of the mess it has created?

If he's not prepared to look at ideas, what credence can we give his statements on the reform of Federal-State relations which can't be done without a willingness to consider new ways of doing things?

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I will continue to raise issues, examine ideas, debate the need for change and develop the policies that are necessary to get this country back on track.

At this moment in our history, Australia needs leadership of honesty and integrity.

Mr Hawke, Mr Keating, Mr Howe and Mr Dawkins don't seem to have i t .

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