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Transcript of Peter Reith MP



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Deputy Leader of the Opposition

E&OE

TRANSCRIPT OF PETER REITH MR, DEPUTY LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION AND SHADOW TREASURER, MELBOURNE, TUESDAY 1 DECEMBER 1992

REITH:

Today's numbers are worse than the Government promised. The unemployment rate is going higher than the Government promised. And Australia now has a debt of $201 billion and that is just 201 billion reasons why we ought to be changing. And the Government's policy of no action, no change is just not good enough. Australia ought to have the courage to go for the big changes. Change for the better so that people can have a chance of a job and so that we can start to pay off our debts

over time. Under Keating, this Government has brought us the worst recession in 60 years. That recession is still continuing. Unemployment's likely to be, more likely to be worsening here than better. And the fact is the economy is very sluggish. And on a population adjusted basis the growth

is virtually non-existent. So we do need to change. Australia's needs to have the courage to go for the big changes, changes for the better.

JOURNALIST:

...inaudible...

REITH:

Oh Mr Dawkins, he promises everything every week. I mean, they promised before last Christmas that things would be better after Christmas. They're really always trying to tell you that things would be better next year, that the grass is greener in the other paddock, and they obviously are not. And Labor's been in for 10 years and we are at a point in crisis in Australia's history. Mr Keating was

elected twelve months ago as Prime Minister, he said that things would be better, in fact things are now worse and our debt is just going through the roof.

JOURNALIST:

...inaudible...

REITH:

Well Mr Keating, I think, shamefully has been encouraging the national action by the ACTU. The fact is that we just cant afford for people to be going on, you know, political strikes when he ought to be encouraging major reforms in the industrial relations system. He wont because he cant deliver that reform. Just in the same way that he’s now opposed to tax reforms which he knows in his heart of hearts that Australia ought to undertake and which he was once in favour. The economy is of course today the big issue, will continue to be the big issue. We've got to stimulate this economy so that we

can provide jobs. Labor cant do the job. Labor caused the problem.

JOURNALIST:

...inaudible...

.../2

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MIC AH

2

REITH:

Well, it could b e ... Firstly the fact is the economy is as bad as we say. And for many thousands of Australians is worse and the reality is it's continue, going to continue to be bad. And Mr Keating and Mr Dawkins will always promise that things will be better tomorrow, but obviously they are not going to be better. And it's about time they had the courage to actually stand up and honestly say what the

extent of our problems are and then actually do something about it instead of just the empty promises and no action that have been the hallmark of Mr Keating's Prime Ministership. In terms of the poll, the poll that counts is the poll that shows you that we've got $201 billion worth of debt and that Australia is borrowing to pay it's interest bill. And that simply cannot continue.

JOURNALIST:

...inaudible...

REITH:

Well their promises about recovery have just been shown to be empty promises. The fact is that there is no recovery. We are just bumping along in the worst recession for 60 years. And when people have finished unwrapping the Christmas presents and go back to work next year, the truth is that things are going to be just as bad then as they are now. And for many Australians they will be actually worse and our debt will be higher and unemployment could be easily as high, if not higher. And the fact is that that all screams out that Australia's going to have to have the courage to change. And we can change. We can change for the better. Australia can be run better than it is run by

Labor. They've had 10 years and they cant do it. They cant fix the problem, they caused the problem. Ahd that I think will be increasingly clear as we go through the Christmas period and into the new year.

JOURNALIST:

...inaudible...

REITH:

I dont make predictions about interest rates. But your starting point is wrong. We already have high real interest rates. I mean interest rates are coming down, inflation's coming down because of the recession is not necessarily higher interest rates, lower, lower interest rates and in fact interest rates have gone up in the last few days at the long end of the market and there are certainly pressures there. The fact is that we started with higher real interest rates, the real question is what can we do to get them down and to keep them down. If anything the pressure is the other way. That is true.