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Statement by the Leader of the Opposition, Kim Beazley

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Leader of the Opposition


Today's national accounts stand in stark contrast to John Howard's pre-election scare campaign when he tried to suggest economic growth had stopped.

I welcome today's confirmation that the economy continued to grow in the December quarter, indicating a healthy economy which has now been growing for a record four-and-a-half years.

The 0.5 per cent growth figure for December, giving a growth rate through the year of 3.1 per cent maintains Australia's economy as one of the strongest growing in the industrialised world.

This figure underlines the fact that Labor has left the new Government an economy in sound condition, with sustainable grov/th, low inflation and excellent prospects.

It also suggests that the economi c forecasts released by the Treasurer last week were pessimistic and overstated the impact on the Budget.

The Coalition's hallmark in Opposition was to talk down the Australian economy. On 5 December last year, John Howard told a business lunch in Perth that Treasury had advised the Labor Government the December quarter national accounts would show negative growth.

This was completely untrue.

Mr Howard later told ABC Radio: "Oh, my sources are always reliable."

Now that he is in Government, I expect Mr Howard to be a lot more reliable in his economic commentary.

CANBERRA 20 March 1996

Parliament House, Canberra, A C T. 2600 Phone (06) 277 4022 Fax. (06) 277 2055