Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Transcript of interview with Ranald McDonald: Coburg Mall: 10 April 1992: Jobs in Wills; fightback!

Download PDFDownload PDF

Leader of the Opposition




SUBJECTS s Jobs in wille, Fightbackl


Well, first up today is the Leader of the Opposition, Dr John Hewson who is back here campaigning in Wills - good morning to you?


Good morning Ranald, you are you?


I'm well th.ank you but I wonder how you think the Liberal is going based on this morning's opinion polls or your own Party poll? Do you believe you have any realistic chance of winning Wills?


Yes I haven't given up, I certainly haven't given up. I don't give up ,..


...(inaudible) ...


I think we have, yes I think people will crystalise their choice and they'll recognise that a vote for Labor is putting their job at risk - they'll lose their job - Phil Cleary nor Paul Keating are going to offer jobs.


Let's talk about jobs therefore - 11.6% for Victoria - but some pickup elsewhere. How do you interpret the figures?

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Phone 774022


jobs are still being destroyed in Victoria and around the Wills area in particular. We've seen no evidence yet that it's bottomed, and we see no evidence in the Labor Party can deliver any solutions. John Halfpenny is out there saying

that Joan Kirner can't deliver on her package, Kim Beazley is saying that unemployment is going to stay high right through the decade. That's the issue, jobs are the issue and a vote for Labor could cost you your job.


A vote for the Liberals - John Delacretaz - is a vote for

Fightbackl, is it?


It's for dealing with the problem and creating jobs and Fightbackl will create jobs. We can foresee 2 million jobs being created as a result of the implementation of the Fightbackl package.


Can I be a little bit more specific about that though? On the Fightbackl package, there are certain projections and $10 million worth of cuts and various other plans to ... the GST, most of the Fightbackl comes In over a 3-year period, what would be the immediate impact cf Fightbackl in the short

term, surely, there would be no improvement in jobs unless there was a great lift in policies?


There are things you can do straight away. You can cut

immigration, you can forego any more national wage case increases and relate any further wage increases to

productivity because wage costs are a reason for unemployment. You can forego the compulsory superannuation levy which will cost 60,000 or 70,000 more jobs - the Government is pushing ahead with that - and, of course, you can implement the rest

of Fightbackl which will, I believe, in the context of accelerating development and the tax reform and the reduction of business costs, will create jobs.


So you say quite specifically, immediately one started to introduce Fightbackl means you've brought in some of your policies, there would be a lift in ...


Well, right now, jobs are being taken by immigration, jobs will be lost by further wage Increases in this recession, they will be lost by the superannuation levy - you can save those


jobs by acting today. If wo look at youth unemployment which is over 50% in this area, young people aren't going to get into the workforce until you address the issue of youth wages and recognise that they are discriminated against and you can do that today too. So, there's a lot that can be done as a

matter of immediacy in creating jobs.


I heard you talk on p m which seemed to me you were really

admitting that it's very difficult to sell Fightbackl and perhaps you haven't been successful in selling it yet?


We had an objective of selling it over a 12 to 18 month period and we are only one third of the way through. We are one

third of the way through, so we are one third of the way on our objective - I have every confidence. We can explain ourselves, we are the only alternative that offers hope, vision and jobs. The Labor Party is just muddling through, if you like, as they muddle, more jobs are lost. We saw it in yesterday's figures - 180,000 jobs lost in Victoria - and more

jobs to be lost. If you vote for Labor or you vote for Phil Cleary, you could lose your job.


Well, let's say here in Wills, they do vote for Phil Cleary or Labor, what does that mean to you and how will you interpret the results particularly if they come along the rough level that either the opinion polls which would put the Liberals



If Cleary were to win, it would be a massive loss for Labor. Yet, he would in Canberra wouldn't do anything but basically vote with the Labor Party. As far as we can see, there is only one choice, if you want to save your job, you vote



You talk about choice, I'm just wondering how you will interpret the results if they do come out as projected in the polls which puts Liberals third. If you come third, is that a massive blow to both your leadership and also acceptance of



No, I don't believe so. I think the key point is primary

votes. We've been told that the Labor Party had reached rock bottom last time with a 48% primary vote in Wills. That is nowhere near rock bottom and to the extent that tomorrow we


will see the extent to which it has actually fallen away below 48% and that's the real message and the Labor Party is the real loser. I think the message is very simple, Paul Keating needs a good kick in the backside for what he's done to this country, what he's done to Wills for the jobs he's lost, and there's only one way to give him the kick in the backside and that's vote Liberal.


As you know in this area there have been over the last few years, 8 factories, 8 businesses that have closed in the rough area of clothing, footwear and textiles and, yet, you are planning to continue with the proposal by the year 2000 to drop tariffs. Are you still absolutely persistent on that - you're not changing course?


No we are not and that won't cost the Jobs. The jobs have been lost right through the 1980's in this area while the textile and clothing industry has been pretty heavily protected. Almost a fairly constant level of effective protection right through that period and they have lost 20 odd per cent of jobs over the last 10 years and we are about

creating jobs. Tariffs don't create jobs, tariffs cost jobs and there's only one way to create jobs and that is to become internationally competitive, match the best in the world, cut our costs, get out there and compete - that's where the jobs will come from, they will come in Wills and they will come

right across Australia. We've got to face the reality that there's not quick fix. The Labor Party has been quick fixing for the best part of the last 10 years and what's happened? We've got massive unemployment - nearly a million people

unemployed - a massive increase in unemployment in this area. They have no answers and they have no sense of direction, they have no vision and they have no capacity to create jobs.


Dr Heweon after became Leader, we talked a number of times since that you did promise that you would be open and honest and that you would bring a new style to politics. Do you think that you made a quite serious mistake in your criticism of the Prime Minister in the Mafia jibe. Did you actually

jump into the gutter, did you perhaps lose the high ground?


No I don't believe I have. I thought the most telling thing about that experience was that the Prime Minister left the Parliament and didn't take the opportunity that was there, then and there, to debate it. He then realised that he had a problem with his Speaker and he needed to claw some ground back and create a diversion so he went out of the Parliament and threatened to sue me. It shows a very precious Prime


Minister with a glass jaw - he can dish it but he can't take it. But be clear, I am going to stand up to the Prime

Minister but I'm not going to stand up in the gutter I'm going to take the debate to him. Where is he today? He

should be down here in wills Just debating unemployment. He has ducked every conceivable opportunity in this campaign to have a head-to-head debate with me on unemployment in Wills and that tells it all, doesn't it?


A last quick question ... (inaudible) ... will you be

pursuing the Speaker, do you want the Speaker to resign?


I think that we've made a very telling case against the Speaker. I think he is now in an untenable position because his Prime Minister didn't support him and that is going to be continue to be a major issue. we are concerned about the

standard of Parliament, we are concerned about the Speaker being genuinely objective in giving us a fair go and we will pursue that as long as we don't get a fair go.


Thanks for coming in or when i say coming in coming to the Mall ...


... nice and warm here Ranald I


It's certainly better than in the studio, thank you very much Dr John Hewson, Leader of the Federal Opposition.