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Treasurer, John Dawkins and Shadow Minister Peter Reith on radio 6pr Howard Sattler



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NO. 2*

TREASURER

EMBARGO

PRESS RELEASE

1 COMMONWEALTH

f PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY 1 M1CAH

TREASURER, JOHN DAWKINS AND SHADOW TREASURER PETER REITH ON RADIO 6PR HOWARD SATTLER - 28 FEBRUARY 1992

E AND OE PROOF ONLY

SATTLERi Hello Peter how are you?

REITHi Very well thanks Howard.

SATTLERi can you see yourseit along with John Howard and John Hewaon being put into some sort of Smithsonian type museum in the old parliament house?

REITH; Paul thinks it's all terribly entertaining and takes people's minds off the big issues but quite frankly I think it was a pretty reckless statement.

s a t t l e r i But he is right isn't he?

REITHi i don't think he is right. What he is trying

to do is to create some sort of diversion and to I think, suffers the real risk of jeopardising our good relations with an important ally and I really think we ought to expect better from a prime minister in his general demeanour and the way in which he approaches important and sensitive foreign affairs

issues.

s a t t l e r i But Peter you know your history you have heard of the Brisbane Line you know Sir Winston Churchill was prepared to sacrifice large slabs of Australia during World War II.

REITH; i also know my history that we stood shoulder

to shoulder with our British and American and other allies to defeat the fascists in World War II and there were very tough decisions made during that time and a lot of Brits died in the defence of freedom of which we are now the beneficiaries and I

think his one sided remarks for hie own political ends don't serve this country's future well.

SATTLER; isn't it also true that a Liberal National

Party government in Australia would reintroduce an imperial honors system?

REITH; No, we arc quite happy with the Australian

honors system and -SATTLER: You aro not after knighthoods any longer?

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REITHi To be honest with you I think he just went over

the top. He has been under a lot of pressure -BATTLERi Must be the Irish in him what do you reckon?

REITHi Well he is appealing to a constituency there

but I think most fair minded Australians would say that we ought to have good relations with the Brits and you don't need to be rude and impolite and insulting to make the point about Australia's independence.

SATTLERi How important is Britain to us in the future

because to a large degree they have thrown their lot in with Europe and you wouldn't blame them for that because that is sort of their region. . Why should we sort of look to Britain and say we need you long term, we need you, you are our major

trading partner eay into the next century. Should we be looking more to our region?

REITHi Paul Keating is blaming the Brits for going

into the common market and I think that is unreasonable, just in the same way as the economic imperatives are for Australia to be a leading player in our own region but that doesn't mean that we should cut off our ties in these sort of insulting

remarks that he made yesterday and there is an important future relationship between Australia and Britain. One because of our traditional ties and values but secondly I think we ought to build on our experiences and those

traditional ties and use them as a stepping stone for a stronger relationship between Australia and Europe and the Brits are in Europe, we ought to be using that relationship for our own general advantage.

SATTLERi What, getting them to give us a leg in there

too?

REITHi Hot a matter of them giving us a leg in but it

1 s an entree that I think we ought to be using and they have links with Europe that we don't have we ought to be working with our allies to our own economic advantage.

SATTLER: Would you think that they would really help us in any way?

REITHi All I am saying is that the general links that

we have built up over the years with the Brits ought to be scon in the context also of giving us an entree in respect of Europe. That's all and there is no advantage in us attacking the Poms when in fact we have had a long close relationship which can bear fruit and have tremendous potential benefits

for Australia.

SATTLER: The cornerstone of his approach this week in promoting his package versus yours was he will lower taxes but

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SATTLER* (cont'd) he won't impose the consumption tax on Australians yet he can still deliver. If he can do that, that looks most attractive doesn't it.

REITHt Firstly his tax cuts are not like our tax cuts

it's just a mirage. He has used the 30 cent rate to say they are the same. You know the stunning fact Howard in his tax cuts is that nearly half of Australia's taxpayers, nearly 4 million people whose incomes are up to about $21,000 or

thereabouts get absolutely nothing. He has kicked them in the teeth in tho last 7 or 8 years -SATTLER: But he says there is hardly any people in that category now.

REITH: Half a million, half the population, how can

you say there is nobody in it -SATTLERi No, he said that not me.

REITH* Well that a lie then isn't it.

s a t t l e r ; Thems strong words peter.

RRTTH; They are half the population and they are the

people least able to deal with the effects of Paul Keating's recession.

SATTLERi But he is going to give them a $317 million

easter egg cm April 2.

REITH: - going to give them $125 if they have got

children, if they have got children, or may be $250 at the most and then he says after that you get nothing, absolutely nothing. In contrast to that with our tax package which is funded and paid for and which will cut income tax by about one

third and double family allowances. This is chalk and cheese stuff, his is not paid for ours is, ours are real genuine deep cuts plus we are abolishing fuel tax, payroll tax, wholesale sales tax, a toLai of -

SATTLER i Let's be frank here yours will be paid for

because everybody is going to pay a consumption tax on everything they buy and every service they get. isn't that true?

REITH* Sure it is a major reform of Australia's tax

system. But under us you genuinely will pay less tax you will pay it in a different way but a much fairer way and a lot of the tax cheats are going to be forced to pay as well.

SATTLER: T V s going to come down to who they believe or

who we believe I should say. why should we believe, any of you because you each of you in your time, not you personally have led us into recession.

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REITHi That's simply not true. Paul Keating is the

one who said this is the recession that we had to have. He led us, he led Australia Into this recession before the rest of the world -SATTLERz But so did Malcolm Fraser in 1982 didn't he?

REITH i No that is not true. In fact we had the

drought and the world recession which pushed Australia into recession at the end ol the 70s and the beginning or the -SATTLERt Well 1961 under a conservative government?

REITH: Well let's go back to 1901 if you want to go

back then. I think most people are interested in the future and this bloke is the one who said he won't let there be a recession. Then when the recession was obvious to all he said this is the recession we had to have and after that he said I

knew we had to have a recession but I didn't want to tell you until it arrived.

SATTLER: Thanks for joining us on the program today

Peter. I have the federal Treasurer on the line now, John Dawkins. Good morning John.

DAWKINS: Good morning Howard.

SATTLER: Did you hear all that?

DAWKINS: I must say I didn't hear the bit right at the

end but I heard most of it.

SATTLER: Can we start with Paul Keating versus the Poms or is it just Paul Keating versus his opponents, the Pom lovers ?

DAWKINS: Let's put this in its context. First of all

the Liberal Party and the tabloids in London decided to attack him for what I thought was a very sensible speech he made and I thought very courteous conduct of the Queen when she was making her way through tho crowded main hall in parliament house. They decided to tell him to take his hands off and to

learn his place and all this kind of stuff. We are an

important country now we are a country that can stand up for Itself. We are a country which can deal with Britain on broadly equal terms, they are bigger than us -SATTLER: So we can put our hands on the Queen?

DAWKINS: No no. Look as you were referring to this

question with Paul the other day, what he was doing was just kind Of guiding her through a very crowded room to make sure she could meet the people that she wanted to see. He didn't

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DAWKINSt (cont'di manhandle her in the way that the press have said it was a very nice gesture to try and keep other people from crowding in on her and to make sure that she could find her way to the people that she wanted to see.

SATTLERt Ok, but he has taken another step now and he

has referred to Britain deserting us during World War II and he has incurred the wrath, not only of the tabloid, newspapers over there and the conservatives here. I have to tell you that there are people like Sir John Leahy(?) a former British

High Commissioner to Australia blaming Mr Keating's Irish background for his outburst and saying Keating la an Irish Australian like many members of the Australian Labor Party and if you scratch an Irish Australian you will start to fight the

old battles. Conservative MP Sir John Stokes said, people in England would be hurt and angry about it, it's quite untrue to say we deserted Australia in the war, we fought in Malaya and Singapore end many British servicemen were killed so there is

a few other people upset now.

d a w k i nS : But there are a lot of old fuddy daddies in

Britain who will get upset about this because they think that we should keep our place. They think that we should continue to behave like a grateful colony that has been nurtured along by Britain. The fact of the matter is that Britain hasn't

done all that much for us in recent times. That doesn't mean that we won’t continue to have a terrific relationship with Britain as we have at the moment as we will have in the

future.

SATTLERi John Major the British PM has called it now an unhappy situation.

DAWKINS i Yes well So he may well do that but we have

called a few other things an unhappy situation. Like for instance the fact that the European community damages all our farms, all our farmers and Britain is a part of that. Now Britain may not agree with it but they go along with it. They have signed up to the common agricultural policy, a policy which damages every one of our farmers in Australia.

SATTLERt So onco again they have deserted us have they?

d a w k i n s t Because they are a member of the economic

community they put the interests of the economic community in Europe ahead of us, they always have since they have been a member of it, that's only to observe what the reality is. There is nothing to get in a knot about that's been the

reality now for over 20 years.

SATTLER; The London Sun newspaper which I have the front page here has got Paul Keating's head attached to a reptile and a heading "The Lizard Of Oz", what do you think of that?

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DAWKINSi That'6 because they think he should keep his place. They think we are not entitled to our views about the world or about them, well we are and we can deal with Britain on an adult mature basis as equal members of the Commonwealth

as joint me.mbere of the international community. We don't have to yo around fawning to Britain, we don't have to go around fawning to anyone and that's what he is saying.

SATTLER: Your political opponents think we should have much closer relations with them.

DAWKINSt We do that's the whole point. We have got a

very close relationship with Britain it's had its ups and downs as old friends can have. We are still old friends -SATTleri do you think we are on a downer at the moment?

DAWKTNS: I don't think so at all. In fact I think our

government has been responsible for building sensible and concrete ties because you see what happens with the

conservatives that they are so forelock tugging in relation to the Brits that the Brits took us for granted. The Brits did take us for granted until we started to build a more sensible and mature and modern relationship with them and that will

continue. But It won't be one based on any sense of

inferiority on our part or any sense of overwhelming gratitude it will be baaed on the sense of our interests and their interests.

SATTLERt But we are inferior John, we have got their

head of state as our head of state.

DAWKINSi Put that to one side. The point is -

SATTLER: You can't it's symbolic isn't it.

DAWKINS t When Her Majesty was here she was not here as the Queen of Great Britain she was here as tho Queen of

Australia.

SATTLERt But why should a Pommy woman I will put that

bluntly be the Queen of Australia, why can't we have our own head of state?

DAWKINSt I wouldn't call her a Pommy woman, I would say that -SATTLERi Well what is she?

d a w k i n s i I would say that we are a constitutional

monarchy at the moment and our constitutional links are with her as our head of state and she came here in the role of our head of state and was treated accordingly and Paul Keating addressed her as our head of state and said you are also head

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DAWKINSi (cont'd) of Great Britain but you must understand that just as Britain hae gone into Europe and is in a sense diminished its relationship with Australia so we have gone into our area of the Asia Pacific and we are building our

future there.

Sa t t l b r : John are you pro Republican/

DAWKINS: I am a member of the Republican movement but I am not getting into that at the moment Howard.

SATTLER: Why, because you think you might lose votes?

DAWKINS: I think we should have a debate about it l

don't think I should try inflicting my views on anyone.

s a t t l e r : You wouldn't be inflicting your views you wouJd juet be putting them.

DAWKINS: 1 am one of those who wants to have a debate

about this issue. But Howard can we get back onto the

economy?

SATTLER: whatever happened to the economy, the

Opposition Peter Reith thinks that Paul Keating deliberately has initiated this debate because he doesn't want to talk about hie economic package.

DAWKINS: Paul Keating was standing up for himself, ho had been attacked by these blokes in the opposition who are -SATTLER: The ones you want to put in the Smithsonian

Institute.

DAWKINS: For their fawning approach to the old old

establishment and of course they believe we should have a similar establishment here In Australia, we don't. He was also standing up for himself against that scurrilous attack from those low grade newspapers in London. So he was standing up for himself he was standing up for all of us and that was a perfectly proper thing for him to do. He was not trying to deflect the debate. If anyone is under pressure in this

economic debate it's the Opposition because we have now put up a proposal which is a real one not a superficial one about -SATTLER: But can you pay for it?

DAWKINS: Howard it is paid for, this is a whole lot of

nonsense. What we are saying is that economy needs to come out of recession, we need to give it a bit of a boost, we can afford to give it a bit of a boost because our budget is in good shape.

BATTLER: I was going to ask you that. There have been

deficit budgets in recent times, Paul Koating ie promising to

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SATTLERi (oont'd) got back into surplus, your promising to give us more and particularly if we are on family allowances you are going to give us $317 million on April 2, where is all that coming from?

d a w k i n s i what happens is that the government is going

somewhat further into deficit but just remember next year we will have a budget deficit of $8 billion, that is half tho size of the budget deficit which the Liberals Jeff, us with in 83 -

SATTLER: this?

Are yon going to borrow more money to pay for

DAWKINS i We will borrow more money and we can because we have the lowest level of government debt of any advanced country. We actually have given ourselves the capacity not just to sit back and let the recession do its damage, let the

recession sort of spread Its wrath on Australian families who can't find jobs. We accept as a government the responsibility to get the economy moving and to put 800,000 jobs back into the workforce over the next -

SATTLERt But where do you got that figure from, 800,000?

d a w k i n s i That's what will come as a result of the plans

that wo have put in place and will begin to implement over the next year or so.

SATTLERi And do you think you should really be giving

people just a nice easter egg on April 2, $317 million, it's only a one off isn't it.

DAWKINSt There are two components of it Howard. First of all there is S3 per weak per child for low income families and then as well for them and other families there is this one off payment. But how else can we get some immediate boost

into the economy through consumer spending?

SATTLER: One big week of spending.

DAWKINS: No no not one big week of spending. This is a

way in which every Australian family can make their own individual contribution to the recovery. I hope they will go out and buy something Australian and that will help to keep the jobs and build more jobs Into Australian industry. That's

the way in which that should be seen and as that has its

effect and goes then we will have the new effect of more spending on roads, more spending on railways, more spending on ports which is going to have the effect of rebuilding the infrastructure of the country which will make ue a better economy a better place to do business.

SATTLER: When you give them tho cheque why don't you

give them a little note, use this to buy Australian.

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DAWKINSι I don't think we will have to give them a

little note I think most Australians will do the right thing and they will eay well here la something to give a bit of a boost to the economy the best way I can do that is to buy

something made in Australia.

SATTLKK< Thanks for your time John.

ENDS