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Fischer Challenges Democrat's Leader to TV debate

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Enquiries Parliament House Canberra, A.C.T. 2600. Phone (06) 277 4058 Fax (06) 277 2052

EMBARGO: 10am 1/8/92


Federal Leader of the National Party, Tim Fischer MP today challenged Australian Democrats Leader, Senator John Coulter to a televised debate on policy strategies to pull Australia out of recession and back into prosperity.

Speaking at the Annual Conference of the South Australian National Party, Mr Fischer said the issues facing the nation as it approaches the next election are so serious, electors should know the value of the election promises being made by the

Democrats, or what is left of the Australian Democrats.

"The Democrats under their new leader, Senator Coulter are parading themselves as a potential government, putting out manifestos on what they see needs to be done with the economy. This is laughable as the Democrats have no wish to seek a mandate

to govern in their own right or to enter into a coalition in

order to gain a place on the Treasury Benches.

"Recently the Democrats released their 'Getting to Wor k " Package which should be of considerable concern to all Australians. For instance, the Democrats want to increase the tax burden to collect $2.5 billion a year to pay for job creation. This

discloses the 'merry go round' approach to employment; wouldn't it be better to create an environment that allows industry and business to prosper so that all will be employed and pay less tax?

"They want to instruct the Reserve Bank to lower interest rates by 2%. This is irresponsible in that official interest rates should only be lowered as a reflection of real achievements in economic management.

"They want the ACTU not to pursue wage claims. This shows the naivety of the Democrats. They obviously cannot understand the strangle hold the Unions have over Australian economic


"The Democrats want to establish a $2.5 billion industry

development and restructuring program by cutting defence spending and increasing taxes. Shades of socialism and pacifism all rolled into one.

"They want a fossil fuel levy. More taxes on the hapless

motorist. On top of that they want to establish a national car registration scheme. Shades of big brother.

"And finally they want to abandon the unachievable 'One Nation' tax cuts. To this we say 'hear hear' but would add that all of the foregoing objectives would be achieved in the Fightback! Package which abolishes seven taxes.



"The Australian Democrats are a Party which is prepared to unfairly and quite wrongly use its deciding vote in the

Australian Senate to subvert the will of the major parties who represent the vast number of Australian voters.

"We have already seen the 'horse trading' actions of this Party to exert their jaundiced will on important legislation. A classic example is the Democrats refusal to go all the way with the

Coalition and seek a realistic reduction in the Wool Tax. Events since then have proved them totally wrong.

"Their vision for the future is based on totally flawed thinking, an example being their approach to fiscal and monetary policy; but then the Democrats have always thought that money comes from the fairies at the bottom of the garden.

Mr Fischer said his challenge is to the Democrats Leader and it should take place as soon as possible as the danger is that many people who are now in desperate straits could be sucked in by the Democrats promises and end up much worse than they are now.

Mr Fischer added that Senator Janet Powell's resignation from the Democrats shows the disunity of that party and augers well for pushing the Fightback! Package through the Senate.

ENDS 1/8/92

For further information phone 06 277 4058 or Mr Fischer at the Conference at the Royal Coach Motor Inn , Adelaide. Phone 08 362 5676

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Telephone (06) 277 4058 Fax (06) 277 2052