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Transcript of press release: Melbourne: [employment]

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Deputy Leader of the Opposition

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Q Mr Reith, will you be going back over GST figures to check

if there is a shortage of funding?

A Look, there is no shortfall. This is a just a desperate

political ploy by Mr Dawkins. He's just concocted a few numbers in his office to attack the Opposition. We've heard a lot of these numbers before, some of them are just absurd. For example, the Government says that we would obtain no revenue from the black economy. No one believes

that, not even the Government believed that when they proposed a consumption tax in 1985. So, I just dismiss his figures out of hand. They deserve nothing but dismissal and I reject his numbers.

Q So no checking of figures at all by your Department?

A Well, look our numbers are right. That's pretty obvious even Mr Dawkins would be able to see that. He is just

running a desperate ploy before Christmas to attack our package, which has been very well received. He would be very embarrassed today by the fact that the stock exchange has said that our privatisation program is reasonable. It could be absorbed by the market. In fact the sale of

Telecom would be widely welcomed by investors, small and not so small and that of course undermines Mr Dawkins' political attack on that element of our program as

announced last week.

I think the big story today is Mr Keating's major gaffe and embarrassment last night when asked a very simple question about unemployment. He said that he couldn't remember what the figures were. Now, that is either a case of Mr Keating not being prepared to tell people the terrible truth of his

failures or alternatively, he didn't know. And, either way, either he couldn't answer the question or he wouldn't answer the question and either way that's a major

embarrassment for the Government. Mr Keating promised when he was first elected as leader that he would do all that he could within his power to create jobs and the figures show, officially, that he has been nothing but a dismal failure.

Parliam ent H ouse, Canberra, A.C .T. 2600



On the question of creating jobs, we now have around 72,000 people more unemployed, we've got 69,000 less people in jobs people in jobs and the unemployment rate since One Nation came down just on 10 and a half per cent to 11.4 per cent. And all that spells failure and Mr Keating last

night stumbled when he was asked the most simple and basic question about unemployment which he himself has nominated as the number one issue.

Q Under a Coalition government, how quickly could you turn that situation around?

A Well, the first thing to note is that when Mr Keating was

asked a simple question about what's happened in the last 12 months and he simply either couldn't answer that

question or would not answer it, because he didn't want people to know the terrible truth of his own failure.

Under the Coalition, we have a plan to create jobs, as soon as the Hewson government is elected. We will abolish

payroll tax, we will pump money into the business sector and into the pockets of consumers to get the economy going. And that is the plan. That's a realistic way out of the

recession, it's a recession busting plan and Mr Keating has no answer for that. His only answer is just to run a scare campaign against policies he himself in the past has

accepted and in fact has publicly advocated. For example, the abolition of payroll tax can create up to 200*000 jobs, that used to be Labor party policy. He ought to now run a national campaign to abolish payroll tax and give

Australians some hope as they sit down for Christmas lunch that there could be a job for them or their job could be

retained after Christmas.

Q ..timed local calls...

A Well, again that's just a scare campaign the Government is running against the privatisation and they are running it today because they are very badly embarrassed by the fact that the stock exchange has accepted the privatisation program is easily obtainable within reasonable conditions


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