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It's timp to fightback!



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Peter Reith

DEPUTY LEADER of the OPPOSITION SHADOW TREASURER PRESS RELEASE

IT'S TIKE TO FIGHTBACK1

The National Accounts figures released today leave the Prime Minister, Mr Hawke, the Treasurer, Mr Kerin, indeed, the entire Federal Labor Government with absolutely no economic credibility whatsoever.

The 0.3 per cent fall in Gross Domestic Product in the September quarter makes a lie of Labor's talk of recovery.

For months now, both Mr Hawke and his new Treasurer have been blindly asserting that recovery was underway.

Today's figures show that simply is not true.

The negative growth recorded in the September quarter casts the cold, hard light of honesty upon the desperate jawboning exercise the Prime Minister and his leading economic ministers have been engaged in.

Not only did Australia record negative growth in the September and June quarters, but the meagre growth of 0.4 per cent that was recorded in the March quarter has also been revised down to negative 0.4 per cent.

What that means, of course, is that Australia has now recorded negative growth in six of the last eight quarters.

Australia has been going backwards for the best part of two yearsl

The principal component in the September quarter fall in GDP was a massive 16.1 per cent fall in the farming sector.

This is the rural depression printed in black and white.

It is ludicrous to propose, as the Treasurer did today, that the September quarter result should be looked at after netting out the rural depression.

Looking closely at the national accounts we can see that there were a number of factors propping up the September quarter result like the 3.5 per cent growth in public sector demand and growth in equipment investment which may not be sustained.

Indeed, published statistics and anecdotal evidence since the end of the September quarter suggest that the economy could slip further in the December quarter (see attached tables).

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MiCAM

. 2 .

It is more than ironic for the Labor government that such disappointing national account figures should be released two weeks to the day since the Coalition launched it's "Fightback" program.

For two weeks now they have been promising a definitive response to the Coalition's sweeping package of economic reform.

But the Australian people have been given nothing but empty rhetoric.

For twelve months this Labor Government taunted the opposition with the catch-cry, "Where's the details?"# yet, with all the resources of the Federal bureaucracy at their disposal, Mr Hawke and Mr Kerin cannot manage to make a constructive

response to the GST in two full weeks.

This Government has no response, one, because there is no hole in the package, and, two, because Labor has no ideas of its o wn.

The "Fightback" program is a legitimate attempt to address Australia's chronic economic ills, an attempt to get people back to work, and to create a competitive economy that will give our children jobs into the future.

Mr Hawke can huff and puff, but it is his own house that he

will blow down.

The Australian people don't want a scare campaign, they want to hear what Labor has to offer.

The tragedy is that all Labor has to offer is new ribbons and bows on yesterday's failed policies.

It's time to Fightback1

Melbourne

5 December 1991 D170/91

N u m b e r

4 6 0 0 0

4 4 0 0 0

4 2 0 0 0

4 0 0 0 0

3 8 0 0 0

3 6 0 0 0

3 4 0 0 0

3 2 0 0 0

M o t o r V e h i c l e R e g i s t r a t i o n s

Seasonally Adjusted, July 1988 to O ctober 1991

r 46000

cars and stationwagons

- 4 4000

- 42000

- 40000

- 38000

- 36000

- 34000

4 - 32000

Aug 91 Aug 88 Aug 89 Aug 90

S o u r c e : ABS Cat. Nos 9 3 0 1 . 0 , 9 3 0 3 . 0 .

N u m b e r

A N Z E m p l o y m e n t A d v e r t i s e m e n t S e r i e s

Seasonally Adjusted, July 1988 to O ctober 1991

i- 4 5000 4 5 0 0 0 -1

vacancies

- 40000 4 0 0 0 0 -

- 3 5000 3 5 0 0 0 -

- 3 0000 3 0 0 0 0 -

- 2 5000 2 5 0 0 0 -

- 20000

20000 -

- 15000 15000 -

I- 1 0000 10000 -I Aug 91 Aug 90 Aug 89 Aug 88

S o u r c e : ANZ Bank.

N u m b e r

C o n s u m e r S e n t i m e n t

Seasonally Adjusted, July 1988 to O ctober 1991

r 120 120 - | i n d e x

- 1 1 0 1 1 0 -

- 1 0 0

1 0 0 -

- 90 90 -

- 80 80 -

- 70 70 -

4 - 60

Aug 91 Aug 90 Aug 88 Aug 89

S o u r c e : IASER C o n s u m e r Surveys.

N u m b e r

D w e l l i n g A p p r o v a l s

S easonally Adjusted, 1986 to 1991

r 17000 17000 -i

approvals

- 16000 16000 -

- 15000 15000 -

- 14000 14000 -

- 13000 13000 -

12000 12000

- 1 1 0 0 0 11000 -

- 10000 10000 -

9000 9 000 -J Feb 91 Feb 89 Feb 90 Feb 88 Feb 86 Feb 87

S o u r c e : ABS Cat No. 8 7 3 1 . 0