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Labor Government rattled by Fightback!

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Philip Ruddock MP


Federal M ember for Dundas Shadow M inister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs

Electorate Tel: (02) 858 1011 Fax: (02) 804 6739

Parliament H ouse Tel: (06) 277 4343 Fax: (06) 277 2062

21 January 1992



If the Federal Labor Government is serious about Australia's future it would have x considered the Australian people before the tail chasing began for the PM's spot. The Australian people want meaningful economic reform now, and the flustered Labor Government is unable to deliver. This affects all of us, especially those suffering the most in what is the worst recession in 60 years.

Paul Keating claims to be consulting business leaders. Yesterday, Sydney business leaders told Keating that he should pick up the essentials of FIGHTBACK! including a GST, abolition of payroll tax, petrol excise etc.

In addition, Keating's economic statement is expected to inject about $2 billion (which must be paid for by taxpayers or lenders) into the economy.

FIGHTBACK'S stimulus of the economy is worth about $50 billion.

Since being in office, he has made no significant statement as to how to put Australia back on track. And what's worse, he was the number one engineer who started our devastating downward slide.

The harsh reality for Mr Keating is that many of the solutions to Australia's economic problems are obvious. The real issue is leadership - the capacity to deliver the reforms. While he and Hawke are having a slinging match, the country loses more and more time, and slides more deeply into an economic state of chaos.

Keating needs to secure progress on all matters relating to the Australian economic and social landscape. The FIGHTBACK! program for reform outlines the major areas which must be addressed:

* Implementation of genuine enterprise-based wage agreements to achieve more productive workplaces and to create more jobs



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* A lower and fairer tax regime including:

- big reductions in income tax; - the abolition of wholesale sales tax and its replacement with a goods and services tax; - reductions in capital gains tax; - the abolition of superannuation lump sum taxes;

- the abolition of payroll tax; - the abolition of petroleum products excise; and the reduction in tax on businesses, including import competing business and on exports.

* Genuine reforms to superannuation including replacing compulsory employer- funded superannuation with a fairer non-compulsory system directed at providing genuine incentives for middle Australia to save for their retirement.

* Incentives for shorter term savings through the Coalition's proposed new Tax Free Savings (TFS) Scheme.

* Reductions in government waste, the elimination of duplication of functions between Commonwealth and State governments, improvements in efficiency and greater contracting out of government functions.

* More effective anti-dumping measures.

* Meaningful infrastructure reforms to match best international practice in land transport, the waterfront, telecommunications, aviation and utilities.

* A realistic depreciation regime for Australian industry.

* Faster approval procedures for development projects, starting with the immediate reversal of the Coronation Hill decision.

* A more realistic immigration policy.

* A commitment to repair the damage inflicted on Australia's education system by John Dawkins.

If Paul Keating really wants to display leadership he should embrace the reforms set out in the Coalition's FIGHTBACK! program.

Business confidence can only be restored by decisive action - our community and Australia cannot afford policy tinkering.

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