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Blewett must disown Richardson - inspred GST fear campaign

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Fred Chaney, Chairman of the Coalition Fightback! Group Jim Carlton, Shadow Minister for The Aged


Labor today got rid of Graham Richardson.

Now Senior Ministers must dump the fear campaign he has urged the Government to wage against the Coalition's Fightback! plan and, in particular, the Goods and Services Tax (GST) proposal.

Social Security Minister Neil Blewett must immediately repudiate blatantly dishonest information handed out at a meeting he attended in Queensland about the cost of living impact of the GST.

If he does not dissociate himself from the leaflet authorised by his colleague Carrie Gibson MP, the Member for Moreton, Dr Blewett, will stand in breach of the Prime Minister's promise to tell the Australian people the truth.

That pledge is being made a mockery of by people like Mr Gibson who subscribe to the Goebels theory of political practice that if you tell a lie often enough people will come to believe it.

Labor's biggest lie is that the proposed 15 per cent GST means a 15 per cent jump in the cost of living.

It is mounting a despicable scare campaign aimed particularly at older Australians.

The tactic was revealed by the unlamented Graham Richardson who, in a speech about how to attack Fightback! told delegates to the NSW ALP's Country Conference in Mudgee on 2 May, as reported in the "Mudgee Guardian" of 5 May:

"I reckon, don't be afraid of fear. It is our most effective weapon"

Senator Richardson has today resigned in disgrace and if Dr Blewett does not disown this deceitful fear campaign he deserves the same fate.

Dr Blewett knows it is a lie. So does Mr Keating because he championed tax option C back in 1985 which made it clear that cost increases would be nothing like the rate of a GST.



The Gibson leaflet handed out at a meeting addressed by Dr Blewett at the Oxley Uniting'Church on 23 April falsely asserts that pensioners and other retirees will be worse off because of the impact of the GST on things they buy.

This ignores the fact that the Federal Treasury itself, given the task of destroying the Fightback plan, concluded that the overall cost of living impact of the tax changes we propose would be under 4 per cent, compared with our own calculation

of 4.4 per cent.

This is because production costs will be slashed with the abolition of seven other taxes such as payroll and petrol tax so the prices on which the GST will be imposed will be significantly lower. It ignores the fact that many food and grocery items already carry wholesale sales tax at rates of up

to 30 per cent - so some things will actually be cheaper after the GST comes in.

And it ignores the fact of compensation of either an eight per cent rise for aged, service and disability pensions and a six per cent increase for other social security benefits.

Dr Blewett is responsible for the well being of older Australians.

He ought to have the guts to stand up and disown those of his colleagues like Mr Gibson who are trying to win votes by frightening vulnerable people with lies.

Brisbane/Canberra 18 May 1992

Contact: Keith Kessell (09) 250 2533