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Victorian election, Keating election strategy, wages, jobs



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Leader of the Opposition

2 August 1992 REF: TRANSCR\sr\2892

TRANSCRIPT OF DOORSTOP INTERVIEW DR JOHN HEWSON MP JEWELLERY FAIR - DARLING HARBOUR, SYDNEY

E & 0 E - PROOF COPY ONLY

SUBJECTS: Victorian election, Keating election strategy, wages, jobs

Journalist:

...(inaudible)... does that mean a federal election this year is now unlikely?

No. We've said that we still think it's a realistic possibility and in fact one of the big issues was when Mr Keating could get Mrs Kirner to go. We've suspected that Mr Keating wanted her to go first with as big a gap between her

and himself as possible. I think what you'll see now is you'll see Kirner go first, Goss go second and Keating goes third and it could all take place this year, which would put a Federal Election in, probably in November.

Journalist:

...(inaudible)...

Well, you know I don't judge these things, but according to the polls I think she has 22 and Mr Kennett has 50, his Party has 50 so, it looks like pretty much a foregone conclusion. But we're never complacent in politics. We'll continue to work every day to make sure that its a decisive victory for

Jeff Kennett.

Hewson:

Hewson:

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

REF: TRANSCR\sr\2892 2 .

Journalist:

. . .(inaudible) . . .

Hewson:

No, not at all. Anyone solving the problems in this country will enhance our chances I've no doubt about that. Victoria's been driven into the mire. It's in the worst shape that anybody can remember, back as far as the Great Depression.

Industry has closed down all over the place, massive unemployment, very very high youth unemployment. If Mr Kennet gets in and does what he says he's going to do, he'll definately start to fix, to solve the problem, turn the place

around, he'll be an electoral asset to us without any doubt.

Journalist:

...(inaudible)...

Hewson:

Well, any time. Today'd be fine. Any time that the Prime Minister's ready to go and he's looking very desperate in the last few weeks. I noticed in the last week, he spent the week up in Queensland pulling one stunt after another trying to get

attention, re-announcing road spending with big cheques and that sort of thing. Nobody's going to be fooled by any of that. The real question to ask Mr Keating is what have you actually done since you became Prime Minister to create a job

in this country, rather than just protect your own job and the answer is that there's been well over 100,000 jobs lost and more to go. We have no doubt that if he goes ahead with the National Wage Case increase that could cost another 70,000

jobs on top of the 100,000 jobs that's been lost due to the Superannuation Guarantee Levy.

What he's doing is adding to the dole queues and then trying to hide it and saying I'm going to push people off onto training programs and so on which'11 take them off the dole queues for a while but they'll ultimately come back onto the dole queues in one of the best educated dole queues in the world and they're getting longer every day he's in government.

Journalist:

...(inaudible)... an election this year correlate with your increased public profile?

REF: TRANSCR\sr\2892 3 .

Hewson:

No, I mean, I don't think my profile's increased. I mean, every day 18 hours a day I'm out doing something. Sometimes it gets reported, sometimes it doesn't.

We've just worked to this agenda since I became Leader. In fact, the day I became leader I said was the first day of the election campaign and we expected it would run for about 2 and a half to 3 years and that's really where it's at at the present time. We still think he'll go this year for one very

simple reason, because next year it'll be worse.

He knows that the economy won't have recovered and that unemployment will be higher in the early part of next year and he won't take that risk.

To go past Christmas and then have the numbers run against him, he'd just be seen as having lied just one more time. In that case I'm sure Keating will go first. They're very keen I think to try and build the image of a Kirner loss and then

push for a Goss victory and then a Keating challenge. And my view is that they'll run Goss' campaign on the GST and try and say well, see, you know, we did well against you guys in

Queensland running on the GST - but we really don't care. The fact is the people in Australia know that federal issues are going to determine the outcome of the Federal election and Mr Keating's got to be prepared to come out of the bunker and

start debating the issues. Every day I issue him with a challenge to come out and debate me on anything at any time, anywhere in this country and it goes into hiding or runs off and pulls some stunt in some part of Australia. It is just

showing desperation. It's not showing any leadership in the worst recession in sixty years.

Journalist:

What do you think about the clock you were given?

Hewson:

Oh, it was very nice. The clock I was given which has my name on it, of course, unfortunately is sold which attracts a sales tax of about 30%. I noticed Mr Keating's empire French clocks don't attract sales tax and don't attract customs duty and you

can judge that for yourself.

REF: TRANSCR\sr\2892 4 .

Journalist:

What do you think will be the key issues at the next election - GST, jobs, economy?

Hewson:

I think credibility in economic management is the key issue and that's related to whether you're prepared to address the issue honestly and then to call for the policy change that is required. We've hidden nothing, we've come out and said that this country's in the worse shape in sixty years. We've got to take some of the toughest decisions we've ever faced as a nation. That includes GST and it includes cutting

immigration. It includes very widespread range of policy initiatives including changing the basic labour market, changing the basic process of the government. We are calling for dramatic and radical change. In fact a generational change in attitudes, values and policies. Thank you.

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