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Address to chamber of commerce luncheon

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Leader of the Opposition


T ran scrip t o f Dr John H ew son, L eader o f the O pp osition

A ddress to C ham ber o f C om m erce L u n ch eon

The E n trance B y-E lection C am paign M onday, 13 January, 1992


The issue as you've said is one of unemployment here on the

Central Coast. When I think back to the time that I came here as a

teenager, dozens of dozens of times to stay at Foresters Beach - a

member of our family had a house on Foresters Beach Road - I

feel pretty sick that they didn't buy some of the land there , even

in a recession the prices would still be pretty good - but there's

been a tremendous change that's taken place in this area. I'd

always thought that this place had potential, phenomenal

potential for the tourist industry in particular, and driving

through today it’s just staggering how much things have gone

ahead and yet, as Bob Graham said, we've merely scratched the

surface of what is possible, not only in the tourist industry but in

other industries in other parts of this country. And that is the sad

commentary of the current state of the Australian economy, There

is so much potential in a country like Australia, one of the richest

and best located nations in the world, everything going for us, and

to our mind, we've lost a whole generation of opportunities. And

that was really the motivation behind the Fightback document,

the motivation to make sure that this country didn't pass on to its

children a lower standard of living...that this generation of

Australians doesn't pass on to our children and our grandchildren

a lower standard of living than we've enjoyed, That is the

prospect under what has been a succession of Labor governments,

both State and Federal, in the course of the current generation.

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Phone 277 4022

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My colleague Michael Baume has just handed me some data as I arrived which updates the unemployment situation here on the Central Coast and he tells me that the unemployment number is 12,700 people in the area, up from the nine thousand, the number being passed around just a few weeks ago, and that youth unemployment has reached 31.7 per cent. That 8,800 people in this area have lost fulltime jobs as a result of the recession we had to have. And the most amazing thing is that Paul Keating is about to do it all again.

He might be down there in Melbourne asking people, for cosm etic reasons, what he ought to do but I don’t believe Paul Keating and John Dawkins have learned anything about econom ic management in this country. And I don’t believe Bob Carr is any different to Paul Keating or John Dawkins when it comes to economic m an agem en t.

Paul Keating and Bob Carr are old mates from way back. They go back to the very heady days, the powerbase of the NSW Right Wing of the Labor Party, the Sussex Street Boys. They are part of that team. They think the same. They operate the same. They are the same. And you should never forget that the damage that Paul Keating has done at the Federal level is quite within the capabilities o f Bob Carr at the State level. Have you absolutely no doubt about that.

Indeed I think it is a point that is worth emphasising that these people, these NSW Labor Party Right Wing hacks are in the business for themselves. They are not in the business for the betterment of the people of Australia. And you have no better

evidence of that than what you've seen at the Federal level in the last couple of years when Paul Keating felt he'd been jilted by Bob Hawke - he hadn't been given the job he'd been promised in the

deal they'd done at Kirribilli House and so he set out to destabilise the government.

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Just think about it, there's the man who controls this nation for the best part o f seven or eight years before that...he claims to have pulled every lever, he claims to have had the Reserve Bank in this pocket and the Treasury in that pocket, to have run everything in this country...he then inflicted on us the worst recession we've had in sixty years and when he didn't get his own way he decided to destabilise the government so they couldn't do anything about it anyway. He was only interested in one job and that was the job of Prime Minister; Bob Carr is only interested in one job, trying to become Premier of this State.

The jobs are ends in themselves when they ought to be means to an end. They ought to be the route by which people can actually make a substantial contribution to this country and make sure that this country reaches its potential. But Paul Keating and Bob

Carr really do not care about the lot of the average Australian and they will do anything to get those jobs. They w ill lie, they will cheat, they will distort, they w ill do anything in order to get the jobs that they have craved now for many years.

You've seen it with Paul Keating - look at the man who opposed financial sector deregulation in opposition and then suddenlt embraced it when he got into government as the only way to win over the business community, he then supported a broad-based goods and services tax and now it suits him politically to oppose it. He will say and do anything and he w ill pick up anything, run with anything in order to satisfy his own personal ends. And every time, on every occasion, those that lose are the average Australians. Right now he's got nearly one m illion unemployed Australians hanging around his neck. They are the monument to

the sort of disastrous policies over the course o f the eight odd years that he was Treasurer of this country and as I say he is about to do the same again.

If you listen to what they've said in the few weeks that Paul

Keating has come into government, he's going to go for growth, he's going to go for growth at all costs, he's going to go to try and boost our economic circumstances artificially, create a few jobs, run around and take credit for the few jobs he has created, simply

to get him self back into government, not to make sure that those jobs are real jobs or that they are sustainable jobs that w ill be there for average Australians for the decades to come.

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He w ill push our economic system to the limit, he w ill manipulate it ruthlessly, absolutely ruthlessly for his own short-term political ends and the result w ill be the same sort of disaster we've seen in

the course of the last six or eight years. Increasing international debt, a resurgence o f inflationary pressure and more, not less, unemployment. We should never forget that he is going precisely the same way about it now as he did back in 1983-84.

And to hear these people say they'll keep control of government spending, go back to 1983 when John Dawkins was Finance Minister and Paul Keating was Treasurer. They blew government spending out to record levels. Don't forget that. That was where the international debt problems started under Joe Dawkins and Paul Keating. That was where the inflationary pressures started and that's where the seeds of our current unemployment problem

started. And they are now going to go around the country and act as if they've found the solution, having talked to a few people in Collins Street and a few people in George Street and a few other people like their mates Bill Kelty, they are going to claim they’ve

solved the problem. They’ll say here's jobs and here's growth and don't worry, vote for us again. Well don't be fooled because there is no way that a Labor government, built on the mateship of Carr and Keating and Kelty and others can ever solve our basic econom ic problems.

They cannot deliver the basic reform that is essential to turn this country around. Principally because they are beholden to the union m ovem ent.

M ost of the structural reform that has to take place in Australia relates to the labour market. It is the labour market that causes you the problems on the waterfront. It is the labour market that causes you problems in electricity generation. It is the labour

market that causes the problems in telecom m unciations or transport and they w ill never reform the labour market. They are tied in to deal on top of deal, on top of deal, with people like Bill

Kelty. So despite what they say, despite what they claim they will never be able to deliver the reform that is necessary in this country to turn our econom ic circumstances around.

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Now this election coming up next Saturday is a very important election and don't let anybody tell you that it isn't. Don't let anybody tell you that it is just a by-election because every election in the 1990's, in the early 1990's, is going to be

important. There are going to be a string o f by-elections and state elections and then a federal election in the course o f the next 12 to 18 months. They are going to be important because they are all

going to be about good government. Thet are going to be about which political alternative has the capacity to take the decisions that are necessary to turn our economic circumstances around. And it is just as important in relation to this by-election as it is in

relation to any state or federal election that the electorate understand the issue.

People are concerned about unemployment. The answer to solving the unemployment problem is in essence the answer of good government. What you have seen in NSW is a Premier in Nick Greiner who has been prepared to cast aside all the

traditional criteria for a successful government, a successfxil Premier, simply to provide good government. Sure he is going to be unpopular. Sure his popularity is going to take a bit of a

beating but the problems are being addressed; the problems are being identified and the problems are being solved. The choice, whether it is in this by-election or in the state election or in the

federal election is going to be which party has got the balls to get on and govern this country the way that it ought to be governed ....... even if they are unpopular decisions because they know they

are right, they know that is what has got to be done to turn this

country around. It is going to be a very real choice on everyone of those occasions and people should have no doubts.

i acre are mi quick. i'I a c s lu unimjylvymt*H. T W av « i v n u o i m y i v

solutions. Don't you think if there was a simple solution to the unemployment problem even Bub Hawke and Paul Keating could have thought of ir In the, course of llie last eight y ca iS . If there

were any quick fixes they would have already used them. The [unlileni is ι.ΐιΛί. w6 have to go back to our basic attitudes, our basic policies, our basic values that have characterised a whole generation of An strait am;.

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We have been kidding ourselves as a nation that w e will be lucky - that the circumstances w ill change, that things will pick up, that things will be OK. While everybody wants to believe that things w ill get better, they won't get better anymore unless we all make sure that we make the effort to ensure that's the case. And it's no good just saying to the government, you fix it, because the government alone can't fix it. The government can change policies and put the policies in place that will facilitate the rebuilding of our economy but it is going to involve every single Australian in order to turn our circumstances around.

There's only one way to create real jobs in Australia and that is rebuild the business community, rebuild the capacity of the business community, small and large, to create jobs. You don't want to go off with any airy fairy ideas that the government can create jobs, The real wealth generators in Australia are the

business community and one of the greatest tragedies that ever befell this country was the arrival of Gough Whitlam in the early 1970s who not only increased individual dependence on government but he actually made things like wealth and profits dirty words. And they can never be dirty words if we are to turn

this country around. We have to restore the opportunity for individuals to go out and earn money by their own efforts, to employ people, to create wealth. And we should never be ashamed of the fact that we have to to fight for a system that is

going to restore the role of the private sector and restore the role of the business community as an essential elem ent of turning this country around.

That's where the jobs are going to come from and that is not an opportunity that is going to be taken up by Keating or Carr or anybody else on the Labor Party side. They will continue with their increasingly central role of government, they w ill take more and more to them selves, they w ill take more and more decisions on behalf of everybody else and they will succeed in what they have been doing for the best part of the last decade which is dragging everybody in this country down to the lowest common d en om in ator.

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The concepts o f excellence have been lost. The concepts of work and work ethic have been lost. The concept of individual financial responsibility has been lost and that's what we've got to turn around. And that really is the essence of the Fightback package

which we brought down a few months ago. It is to restore the role of the private business sector as the central element to creating jobs in this country. It is why we abolish 20 billion dollars in taxes on business, it is why we force the business community to become

internationally competitive because that's the only way you are going to create jobs.

You can't create jobe by job creation schemes. You can't create lasting jobs by quick fixes in government expenditure and mad cities fantasies and so on that we've seen in recent days. The only way you can create jobs is to make sure that the business community in Australia matches the best in the world. So you get the best waterfront, you get the best transportation system , you

get the best electricity generation system, you get the best schools and the best hospitals and that's the only way w e are going to turn our circumstances around.

They are never going to be easy choices. They are all going to be difficult choices. To the extent that government has got a role in rebuilding the economy it is to take those tough decisions and to set the agenda so that individuals can get on and take greater control over their own lives and their own futures, greater incentives to work, greater incentive to open a business, greater incentive to expand a business, greater incentive to save. That's

where the policy solutions lie and they are not part of lexicon of Paul Keating, they are not part of the conversation of Bob Carr, they don't even understand the process let alone where to begin it.

So I'm very pleased to have had the opportunity, Bob, to be here today in support of your candidature for the seat of The Entrance. I have every confidence that wc can get that message through to the people of The Entrance, that we can get that message through to the people of Australia. They have a veiy clear choice on every

occasion, they can go with the mateship, they cun go with the diriiuucily ■ and just think about thr, rmignihitlt; o f I,hi? lies that Lavv Lwu told by State and Federal Labor loadoro in recent, yearr. in o^dur to got themoelvec back into government* the recession


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you won't have, the fact that Bob Hawke would serve his full term, dozens of dozens of lies - that Coronation Hill was a valuable part o f the Kakadu National Park - and so it goes on. They will do anything and say anything in order to get them selves r e -e le c te d .

That's the one choice. On the other side you've got a group o f people of whom Bob is an example, Nick is an example, my colleagues and m yself are examples, who are prepared to govern in the best interests o f the people o f Australia, are prepared to take the tough decisions needed, are prepared to face up to the reality o f our circumstances and go out with a message that may

be politically difficult, to tell people they have got to change their ways or that we've got to change the tax system or that we're going to have to change a whole lot of attitude and values in this country if we aren't going to destroy our wealth. But w e have to face that choice.

And I really think that while everybody will assess our polices naturally on the basis o f what's in it for them, w e ask them to assess our policies on one other criteria as w ell, and that is what is in it for their children and their grand-children. Because we've got

to make a stand and we've got to make a stand now and let's begin with The Entrance by-election next Saturday.

Thank you.

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