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Minerals outlook seminar Canberra



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SPEECH AT AfiIC "MINERALS OUTLOOK SEMINAR"

CANBERRA - THURSDAY 12 M A Y . 1 9 8 3

GIVEN BY SENATOR THE HONOURABLE F . M , CHANEY,

SHADOW M I N I S T E R FOR RESOURCES AND ENERGY,

AND LEADER OF THE O P P O S I T I O N I N THE SENATE

EMBARGOED: NOT TO BE DELIVERED UNTIL 5 ,0 0 PM

I AM GR A T E F U L TO THE A U S T R A L I A N M I N I N G I N D U S T R Y

C o u n c i l f o r h a v i n g g i v e n me t h e o p p o r t u n i t y t o s p e a k a t t h i s

C o n f e r e n c e , It i s , i n d e e d, t h e f i r s t o c c a s i o n on w h i c h I

HAVE BEEN ABLE TO ADDRESS A S I G N I F I C A N T GATHER I N G ' O F " THE- - .

M I N I N G INDUSTRY SINCE AS S UM ING THE S H ADO W PO RT F OL 10 OF RESOURCES'

a n d En e r g y, I r e g r e t t h a t .t h e p r e s s u r e s of my o t h e r r o l e - t h a t .

of Le a d e r of t h e Op p o s i t i o n i n t h e Se n a t e - h a v e p r e v e n t e d

ME FROM AT T END IN G .MOR-E OF TODAY ' S PROCEED I NGS ,

As MANY OF YOU WI L L KNOW, RESOURCES AND ENERGY IS A NEW F I E L D FOR ME, THE ECONOM I STS AMONG YOU MAY EVEN.

TAKE SOME S A T I S F A C T I O N FROM MY BE IN G EXPOSED NOW TO THE "S UPP LY

S I D E " OF THE ECONOMY - A B O R I G I N A L A F F A I R S AND SOC I A L SE CU RI TY

B E I N G VERY MUCH ON THE "DEMAND S I D E " , O B V I O U S L Y , I AM S T I L L

LEARN IN G AND WI L L BE DURING THE PERIOD WE SPEND IN O P P O S I T I O N , .

I AM SURE THAT MANY OF YOU WI L L BE ONLY TOO W I L L I N G TO HELP

IN THAT L E A R N I N G PROCESS IN THE NEAR FUTURE. YOUR EXP ERIENCE

MAY SUGGEST TO YOU THAT THE LEARN ING PROCESS W I L L ' END WHEN

WE REGAIN GOVERNMENT AND I WI LL ASSUME THE USUAL M I N I S T E R I A L

O M N I S C I E N C E , ,

■ In P O L I T I C S WHAT YOU W I LL DO TOMORROW ■ i s MORE IMPORTANT

THAN WHAT YOU D I D YESTERDAY, I DON ' T THEREFORE PROPOSE TO SPEND MUCH

T I M E ON P O L I C I E S WE FOLLOWED WHEN IN GOVERNMENT, I DO, HOWEVER, WANT

TO P O I N T TO ONE EXAMPLE IN THE PAST WHICH I T H I N K WAS CONSPICUOUSLY

SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE THERE MAY BE LESSONS FOR ME TO DRAW FROM ITS

SUCCESS, I REFER TO THE IMPORT P A R I T Y PR I C I NG POL I CY' F OR O I L . Ϊ Η Α Τ

P O L I C Y WAS BROUGHT TO F R U I T I O N BY MY PREDECESSOR,

Se n a t o r Si r John Ga r r i c k, w i t h w h o l e- h e a r t e d a n d o f t e n c o u r a g e o u s

P E R S I S T E N C E . Gl VEN A U S T R A L I A ' S R E L A T I V E ENERGY AFFLUENCE I T WOULD

HAVE BEEN ALL TOO EASY FOR US TO HAVE SETT LED FOR A POPULAR BUT

WRONG AND -'-SHORT-SIGHTED P O L I C Y , THAT WE MANAGED TO CLEAVE TO A P O L I C Y

WHICH WAS FREQUENTLY UNPOPULAR BUT ALMOST U N I V E R S A L L Y RECOGNISED

AS R I G H T , IS IN LARGE MEASURE DUE TO JOHN G A R R I C K , I T IS

CLEAR TO ME FROM T A L K I N G WITH THOSE IN THE F I E L D THAT. THE

EST AB LI SH ME NT OF THE MARKET PRI CE OF NEW O I L HAD P.REC 1 SELY . '

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THE. EFFECT WHICH ACADEMIC ECONOMISTS MIGHT HAVE PREDI CT ED *

We w e n t f r o m a w o e f u l e x p l o r a t i o n s i t u a t i o n to a s t a t e of

C ON SI DER ABL E A C T I V I T Y WITH S I G N I F I C A N T SUCCESSES BE IN G ACHIEVED

IN THE F I E L D , CONSERVATION OF OUR MOST PRECIOUS ENERGY FORM

WAS ALSO ENCOURAGED BY THE APP RO PRI ATE P R I C E S I G N A L S , THAT

M AR KET - BAS ED SUCCESS I S . O N E OF THE MOST U N I V E R S A L L Y APPROVED

ASPECTS OF THE PR EVI OUS ' GOVERNMENT'S A C T I V I T I E S THAT I HAVE

COME ACROSS ,

. In d e e d, i n t h e s e p o s t- e l e c t i o n d a y s of s o u l- s e a r c h i n g

AND R E C R I M I N A T I O N S WE DO WELL TO REMEMBER SUCH P O L I C I E S AS

B E I N G AMONG THE VERY R E A L . A C H I E V E M E N T S OF THE LAST SEVEN

y e a r s , Th e y w e r e, m o r e o v e r, s e v e n y e a r s of r e l a t i v e l y s t a b l e

AND P R E D I C T A B L E GOVERNMENT - AN E S S E N T I A L V I R T U E ALL TOO

L I K E L Y TO BE OVERLOOKED AT THE MOMENT, BUT ONE WHICH, I SUSPECT,

IS OF P E C U L I A R IMPORTANCE TO AN INDUSTRY SUCH AS YOURS, COMPARED

WITH THE WH IT LAM YEARS - AND THE DECLARED I N T EN T I ON S OF THE

Ha w k e Go v e r n m e n t - i t was a p e r i o d m a r k e d by an a b s e n c e of

R A D I C A L AND D O C T R I N A I R E CHANGES IN P O L I C Y , ΪΗ Ε RATE OF CHANGE

IN A LL T H I N G S WAS G R A D U A L , I N D E E D , IN RETROSPECT SOME MAY

FEEL THAT OUR CONCERN FOR GRADUAL ISM WAS "TOO GR E A T , C E R T A I N L Y ,

I T IS A MATTER FOR R EG R E T . T H A T WHEN WE LOST GOVERNMENT THE

Ca m p b e l l Re p o r t was o n l y p a r t l y i m p l e m e n t e d, p a r t i c u l a r l y

SI N C E THE .PRESENT GOVERNMENT I S U N L I K E L Y TO MOVE FURTHER

TOWARD DER EG U LA T IO N OF THE F I N A N C I A L SYSTEM, MANY WOULD. REGRET ,

TOO, THAT WE WERE UNABLE TO MOVE FURTHER AWAY FROM T R A D I T I O N A L

R E L I A N C E ON D I R E C T T A X A T I O N TOWARD A MORE EQU IT AB LE AND E F F I C I E N T

SYSTEM WHICH PLACED G-REATER EMPHASIS ON I N D I R E C T TAXES , A N D , .

G I V E N THE STRONG PRESSURES FOR HIGHER PROTECTION ON AND W I T H I N

THE PRESENT GOVERNMENT, I T MAY WELL BE THAT WE WERE TOO GRADUALIST

IN OUR I N S I S T E N C E THAT THE ADOPTION OF A W I D E- R AN GI N G PO LI CY

ON STRUCTURAL ADJUSTMENT OF INDUSTRY SHOULD WAIT FOR BETTER

t i m e s. Th o s e of y o u who a r e e i t h e r. p a r t i c i p a n t s i n t h e t a r i f f

./ 3

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DEBATE OR OBSERVERS OF I T MAY BE WONDERING JUST WHERE P O L I C Y

. IN T H I S AREA W I L L GO UNDER THE PRESENT GOVERNEMENT, I f YOU .

■ HEARD OR READ THE C O N T R I BU T I ON OF THE M I N I S T E R FOR PRIMARY

I n d u s t r y, t h e Ho n, John Ke r i n, t o t h e d e b a t e.of t h e Ec o n o m i c .

Su m m i t y o u m i g h t a g r e e w i t h me t h a t he s o u n d e d more l i k e -

Mr John Hy d e t h a n t h e De p u t y Pr i m e Mi n i s t e r, t h e Ho n, Li o n e l Bo w e n,

Ju s t w h a t t h a t m e a n s i n t e r m s of w h e r e p r o t e c t i o n p o l i c y .

MIGHT GO IS SOMETHING WE SHALL DISCOVER SOON ENOUGH ,

■ · · -B y c o n t r a s t' w i t h i t s La b o r p r e d e c e s s o r, t h e p r e s e n t .

GOVERNMENT SEEMS TO BE PL AC IN G MORE STRESS ON S T A B I L I T Y AND -

GRADUAL CHANGE., BUT TO' ACCEPT THOSE SO OT HI NG , PUBL I C.-RELAT IONS

NOISES AS REASSURING IS TO OVERLOOK THE I N T I M A T E L I N K S BETWEEN

t h e La b o r g o v e r n m e n t a n d i t s Pa r t y Pl a t f o r m, a n d b e t w e e n

t h e La b o r e x e c u t i v e a n d t h e l a y Pa r t y i t s e l f - l i n k s w h i c h .

t h e Ha w k e g o v e r n m e n t w i l l be u n a b l e t o i g n o r e. The ALP Pl a t f o r m

IS .A POCTR I ΝΑ 1 RE DOCUMENT, STRONGER ON IDEOLOGY' THAN ON R AT I O N A L

D E C I S I O N - M A K I N G . · ■

Le t me i l l u s t r a t e t h i s b y d i s c u s s i n g t h r e e a r e a s ,

OF CONCERN BOTH TO THE M I N I N G INDUSTRY ANJD TO THE THEMES

OF T H I S CONFERENCE , '

, S o c i a l i s t g o v e r n m e n t s t e n d s t r o n g l y to be i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s t

I t IS NOT S U R P R I S I N G , THEREFORE, TO F I N D IN THE LABOR PLATFORM

SOME STRONG COMMITMENTS TO CURRENTLY F A S H I ON AB L E I N T E R N A T I O N A L I S T

d o c t r i n e s, Pr o m i n e n t a m o n g t h e s e a r e e n d o r s e m e n t s of t h e

New I n t e r n a t i o n a l Ec o n o m i c Or d e r, a n d of UNCTAD, Th e r e i s ,

OF COURSE, A CONS IDERABLE. DEGREE OF BI PART I SAN SUPPORT FOR

Au s t r a l i a' s p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n t h-e · i n t e r n a t i o n a l f o r u m s w h e r e

SUCH PROGRAMS ARE D I S C U S S E D , BUT SUCH PROGRAMS ARE NO S U B S T I T U T E

FOR GROWTH AND EXPANDED WOR^D T R A D E , READ AS A WHOLE, L A B O R ' S

PLATFORM SUGGESTS T H A T . T H E ALP - AND THE HAWKE GOVERNMENT - ARE

L I K E L Y T O . PAY TOO MUCH HEED TO THE PREMI SSES ON WHICH SUCH

. . . / n

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PROGRAMS ARE BASED RATHER THAN TO GROWTH AND TRADE AS THE

SOURCE OF INCREASED WEALTH, E A R L I E R SPEAKERS AT T H I S CONFERENCE

W I L L , I AM SURE, HAVE SPOKEN OF THESE MATTERS AT SOME LENGT H,

AND I UNDERSTAND D r MlNOGUE WOULD HAVE GIVEN YOU SOME TRENCHANT

VIEWS., . ·.

So c i a l i s t i n t e r n a t i o n a l i s m h a s a f u n d a m e n t a l f l a w;

THAT I S , AN I N A B I L I T Y TO SEE COMMERCE, TRADE AND THE ACCUMULATION

OF WEALTH AS OTHER THAN A PROCESS OF E X P L O I T A T I O N , THE .CONSEQUENCE OF

T H I S I S A PREFERENCE FOR A I D RATHER- THAN TRADE AS AN INSTRUMENT OF .

BETTERMENT - A GLOBAL WELFARE S T A T E , .

. W e, i n t h e L i b e r a l Pa r t y, on t h e o t h e r h a n d, w h i l e

R E C O G N I S I N G A NEED FOR I N T E R N A T I O N A L INCOME' TRANSFERS AND '

AC T I N G ACCORDINGLY WHEN IN GOVERNMENT, WOULD CHANGE THE

p r i o r i t i e s, W e s e e Au s t r a l i a as a s m a l l b u t r e l a t i v e l y w e a l t h y

N ATI ON WHICH CAN MAKE RELAT IV E L Y SMALL AND LOCAL RESPONSES

TO THE GREATER PROBLEMS, AND WE SEE THESE RESPONSES AS BEING

E SS E-NT I AL LY BASED ON MUTUAL ADVANTAGE , I SHOULD L I K E TO .

QUOTE HERE FROM ANDREW PEACOCK·, FROM AN ADDRESS HE GAVE

FOUR YEARS AGO WHILE M I N I S T E R FOR FORE I G N ‘ AFFA IRS

. " If WE WANT TO L I V E IN A STABLE AMD PROSPEROUS .

AND PEACEFUL RE GI ON , I T IS IN OUR INTEREST TO ■

ACT TO F A C I L I T A T E RATHER THAN FRUSTRATE SUSTAINED

ECONOMIC GROWTH, AND IF WE WANT CLOSE P O L I T I C A L

R E L A T I O N S WITH OUR N E I G H B O U R S , WE MUST APPRECIATE

. THAT WE CANNOT DO SO WHILE R EM A I N I N G ECONOMICALLY

. IN W AR D - LO OK IN G AND P R O T E C T I O N I S T , ECONOMIC AND

' P O L I T I C A L R EL AT I ON S ARE D IF F E R E N T SI DES OF THE

' SAME C O I N , " ■

. . ,/5

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Th a t, I t h i n k, i s our a p p r o p r i a t e r e s p o n s e t o t h o s e, g r e a t e r .

PROBLEMS; NO AMOUNT OF GRANDIOSE POSTURING ON THE I N T E R N A T I O N A L

STAGE, ENDLESSLY TALK 1 NG' ABOUT GLOBAL EGAL 1 TAR I AN 1 SM , W I L L

EVEN BEG IN TO BE AS E F F E C T I V E , '

■ Id e o l o g y r a t h e r t h a n r e a s o n a p p e a r s to be d i s p l a y e d

QU I T E AS STRONGLY IN THE SECOND AREA I WISH TO DISCUSS TODAY - THAT

OF THE T A X A T I O N OF THE MI NERAL AND ENERGY SECTOR, THE PROPOSED

Re n t a l Re s o u r c e s Ta x, a n n o u n c e d r e c e n t l y b y Se n a t o r Wa l s h,

HAS BEEN MOOTED BY HIM IN A CONTEXT OF E F F I C I E N C Y AND E Q U I T Y .

Ye t. i n t h e c o n t e x t of t h e A L P 's p l a t f o r m, t h e f i r s t two

GROUNDS GIVEN FOR THE EST AB LI SH ME NT FOR SUCH A TAX ARE T H A T :

· , " M I N E R A L AND ENERGY RESOURCES BELONG TO THE .

Au s t r a l i a n p e o p l e" ; a n d t h a t

. , "THE B E N E F I T OF THESE RESOURCES SHOULD BE SHARED '

. - E Q U I T A B L Y BETWEEN PRODUCERS AND THE A U S T R A L I A N

COMMUNITY" , ' ■ .

Th o s e w h o, f e a r i n g t h e f l e x i b i l i t y of wo r d s l i k e "e q u i t a b l y" ,

REGARD THAT A S A PRETEXT FOR EVENTUAL E X P R O P R I A T I O N OF PR O F I T S

MAY NOT BE TOO FAR OFF THE MARK, C E R T A I N L Y IT IS WORTH REMARKING

T H AT , IN CONTRAST WITH SENATOR WALSH ' S -RECENT STATEMENTS,

THERE IS IN THE PLATFORM NO L I M I T ON THOSE PARTS OF THE M IN ERA LS

AND ENERGY SECTOR TO WHICH THE PROPOSED TAX MAY A P P L Y , '

■ Ce r t a i n l y RRT h a s so me t h e o r e t i c a l, a t t r a c t i o n s. ·

And n o- o n e, I t h i n k, w o u l d c l a i m t h a t t h e p r e s e n t s y s t e m

OF T A X E S , L E V I E S , R O Y A L T I E S AND CHARGES IS I D E A L , THAT DOES

NOT MEAN THAT ONE MUST N EC E S S A R I L Y GO ON TO AGREE THAT RRT

J_S THE BETTER APPROACH, ,

, . . / 6

- 6 -

■ I FEAR THAT THE S E L L I N G OF THE IDEA OF RRT ~ AND

I T S SUBSEQUENT EXTEN SI ON TO F I E L D S OTHER THAN THOSE ALREADY

ANNOUNCED - W I L L BE VERY EAS I L Y . ACCOMPLI SH E D , I D O U BT , ' IN .

F A C T , THAT THE P U B L I C W I L L BE VERY E X C I T E D AT A L L . To THE

EXTENT THAT THE LABOR GOVERNMENT W I L L HAVE TO PUT FORWARD

P U B L I C ARGUMENT/ THEY W I L L HAVE MERELY TO PO I N T OU T ,T HAT

I N D I V I D U A L MINERS CAN BE CONSPICUOUSLY P R O F I T A B L E , WITHOUT' '

MAKING THE MORE S I G N I F I C A N T P O I N T THAT LEVEL S OF P R O F I T A B I L I T Y

IN THE. INDUSTRY ARE S I M I L A R TO THOSE ELSEWHERE IN THE ECONOMY,

An d, as we l e a r n e d a t t h e Su m m i t, p r o f i t i s n e i t h e r p a r t i c u l a r l y

POPULAR NOR WELL UNDERSTOOD , I HOPE I W I L L BE FORGIVEN IF

I SAY THAT , IN RESPECT OF THE M I N I N G INDUSTRY, THE INDUSTRY

IS I T S E L F PARTLY TO BLAME : THERE HAS BEEN , U N T I L R E L A T I V E L Y

RECENTLY , L I T T L E ATTEMPT TO E X P L A I N TO THE P U B L I C EITHER

THE N E C E S S I T Y OR THE S T A T I S T I C A L · U N L I K E L I H O O D OF P R O F I T , .

I MIGHT ADD , AS AN A S I D E , THAT THE S U B S T A N T I A L LEVEL OF'

F O R E I G N OWNERSHIP MAKES THE INDUSTRY A PA R T I C U L A R L Y EASY ■

POL I T I CAL TARGET ,

We n e e d, I t h i n k, t o h e a r f r o m b o t h t h e m i n i n g

INDUSTRY AND FROM THE DEFENDERS OF THE MARKET ECONOMY, MORE .

DEFENCE OF THE UTTERLY B A S I C IMPORTANCE OF P R O F I T : AS JUST .

REWARD, AS THE B A S I C MARKET S I G N A L , AND AS THE POWERHOUSE

OF· INVESTMENT AND JO.B. CREAT ION , RR T, I T H I N K , OFFERS A PREDATORY

GOVERNMENT EVEN MORE OPPORT UNI TY THAN EVER TO S T I F L E THOSE ■

F U N D A M E N T A L S , .

Wh i l e RRT i s , t h e o r e t i c a l l y a t l e a s t , more e f f i c i e n t

THAN SOME, OTHER CURRENT TAXES , I T RUNS INTO SERIOUS. PROBLEMS

IN P R A C T I C E , FOR EX AM PL E, I T S IN G L E S OUT THE RESOURCES SECTOR

AS AN EARNER OF RENT, WHY SHOULD N O T ' A L L RENT THEN .B E TAXED?

TO WHAT DEGREE CAN T H I S S P E C I A L TREATMENT OF THE RESOURCES

SECTOR BE PURSUED WITHOUT SE R I OU S L Y AF F EC T I N G THE CHOICES

,/7.

φ

o f t h e m a r k e t ? A f t e r a l l . , t h e c h o i c e s o f i n v e s t o r s i n A u s t r a l i a

A R E N O W A L R E A D Y F A I R L Y H E A V I L Y D I S T O R T E D I N T H E D I R E C T I O N

O F N O N - P R O D U C T I V E I N V E S T M E N T - I N D E E D : T O W A R D C O N S U M P T I O N .

R A T H E R T H A N I N V E S T M E N T - W I T H O U T F U R T H E R P O L I T I C A L L Y - I N S P I R E D

I N T E R F E R E N C E , I n A D D I T I O N , . R R T , C A N BE. S E E N A S - A T A X O N M A N A G E R I A L

A B I L I T Y , . ·

■ O n e p r o b l e m i n p a r t i c u l a r , h o w e v e r , m a k e s R R T .

B O T H A D M I N I S T R A T I V E L Y D I F F I C U L T F O R T H E G O V E R N M E N T A N D ■ P O T E N T I A L L Y

D I S C O U R A G I N G . T O T H E I N D U S T R Y , T H A T I S , A R R I V I N G A T T H E A P P R O P R I A T E

F I G U R E . F O R T H E T H R E S H O L D R A T E O F R E T U R N , It I S , AFTER A L L ,

ONE THING. TO D E F 1NE RENT, AND Q U I T E ANOTHER TO I D E N T I F Y .

I T AND. Q U A N T I F Y I T , Ϊ Η Ε SUB J EC T I V E . NATURE OF THE JUDGMENT .

IS P A R T I C U L A R L Y WORRYING, AND IF THE GOVERNMENT MAKES THE . .

WRONG JUDGMENT, I T MAY DISCOURAGE WORTHWHILE INVE STM ENT S,

A FURTHER PROBLEM IS R AI SE D BY THE L I K E L I H O O D THAT THE TAX

W I LL BE ASSESSED ON A PROJECT RATHER THAN A COMPANY B A S I S ,

WITH ALL THE' S U B J E C T I V E D E C I S I O N S ON COST A L L O C A T I O N WHICH

THAT W I L L INVOLVE , . .

. The OTHER VERY c o n s i d e r a b l e p r o b l e m i s p o l i t i c a l,

BUT I T R A I S E S SERIOUS DOUBTS ABOUT THE S O - C A L L E D E F F I C I E N C Y

ADVANTAGES OF RRT, THE COMMONWEALTH'S L E G I S L A T I V E POWERS

IN THE AREA ARE, L I M I T E D , A W I DE.LY" APPL I E D RRT COULD BE INTRODUCED

ONLY·.WITH THE CO- OPERATION OF ALL THE S T A T E S , OR BY USING

SECTION 9 6 GRANTS TO COERCE THE S T A T E S , M r K E A T I N G LAST

YEAR SEEMED TO E N D OR S E . THE SECOND APPROACH; WH I L E SENATOR W A L S H .

HAS BEEN- RATHER MORE C I R C U M S P E C T , I f , HOWEVER., SENATOR WALSH

ADHERES TO H I S STATED I N T E N T I O N TO AP P L Y THE TAX TO O I L

AND COAL T H E N , WI TH COAL AT L E A S T , HE MAY ENCOUNTER Ί NSOLUBLE ■

P O L I T I C A L PROB L E MS , ONE IS L E F T WI T H THE F E E L I N G E I T H E R .

t h a t S e n a t o r W a l s h h a s n o t -. y e t c o m e t o t e r m s w i t h p o l i t i c a l

R E A L I T I E S , OR THAT H I S NEW TAX I S A H I G H - S O U N D I N G BUT COVERT .

,/8

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ATTEMPT T O . A B O L I S H THE NEW/OLD O I L P R I C I N G P O L I C Y , Ϊ Η Ε FURTHER

DANGER IS THAT AN RRT W I L L BE SUPERIMPOSED ON THE E X I S T I N G

TAX SYSTEM, SO THAT THE IMPROVEMENTS C LA I M E D FOR RRT WI L L

S I M P L Y NOT E V E N T U A T E .

YOU MAY HAVE GATHERED FROM ALL T H I S THAT THE O P P O S I T I O N

HAS VERY REAL RESERVATIONS ABOUT R R T , W e DO. BUT I T IS IMPORTANT

TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND TO UNDERSTAND THAT SOME OF THE SUPPORT

FOR AN RRT A R I S E S FROM THE REAL ECONOMIC DISADVANTAGES OF

SOME OF THE TAXES AND CHARGES BORNE BY THE I NDUSTRY, I t'

IS CLEAR THAT N E I T H E R PRODUCTION NOR INFRASTRUCTURE CHARGES ■

ARE THE I DEAL BASE FOR T A X I N G THE RESOURCES . SECTOR , IN D E V I S I N G

t h e Op p o s i t i o n' s a p p r o a c h t o a n y RRT p r o p o s a l we m u s t n o t

LOSE S I G H T OF THE R E A L I T Y OF THESE PROBLEMS FOR THE INDUSTRY,

, The T H I R D AREA I - W I S H t o DISCUSS- HERE IS URANIUM,

A SUBJECT ON WHICH THE RHETORIC OF REASONABLENESS IS BEING

CONSPICUOUSLY USED TO D I S G U I S E I D E O L O G I C A L UNREASON ,

At t h e t i m e of the ALP c o n f e r e n c e l a s t. y e a r t h e r e

WAS A GREAT- DEAL O F ' fUSS ABOUT THE ALLEGED " S O F T E N I N G " OF

ALP P O L I C Y ON UR AN I U M , BUT NO REASONABLE PERSON READING t h e ALP. Pl a t f o r m w o u l d b.e l e d to b e l i e v e t h a t t h e Pa r t y was

S T I L L OTHER THAN IN T R A N S I GENTLY OPPOSED TO URANIUM, THE

COMMITMENTS ARE RATHER MORE H E A V I L Y Q U A L I F I E D THAN BEFORE,

BUT NEVERTHELESS THE FUNDAMENTAL COMMITMENTS ARE THERE: .

, TO "DECLARE A MORATORIUM ON URANIUM M I N I N G

AND TREATMENT IN A U S T R A L I A " . ;

, TO " R E P U D I A T E ANY COMMITMENT OF a n o n- La b o r

· Go v e r n m e n t t o t h e m i n i n g, p r o c e s s i n g or e x p o r t

. o f' Au s t r a l i a' s u r a n i u m" ; a n d ·

' to "a l l o w no n ew u r a n i u m m i n e d e v e l o p m e n t s

TO COMMENCE OR COME ON STREAM WHIL ST LABOR .

IS IN .POWER IN A U S T R A L I A " .

.. ,/9

- 9 -

Ma n y of t h e q u a l i f i c a t i o n s a r e of a m o r a l n a t u r e

AND C E R T A I N L Y ANY GOVERNMENT WHICH COUNTENANCES THE. S A L E ·

OF URANIUM MUST FACE UP TO C ER T AI N MORAL QUEST IONS , BUT

WE DO NOT HAVE A MONOPOLY IN URANIUM - WHAT BUYERS CANNOT '

GET FROM US' THEY WI LL GET ELSEWHERE, 'EVEN M r K E A T I N G , AT

t h e Co n f e r e n c e l a s t y e a r, r e c o g n i s e d t h i s wh en he s a i d t h a t,

i f La b o r w a n t e d to i n f l u e n c e w o r l d o p i n i o n, i t h a d to s e l l

URANIUM TO HAVE A FORUM FOR D E L I V E R I N G ITS ARGUMENTS. , .

. Now, h o w e v e r, Mr Ba n n o n - -who was a m o d e r a t e l a s t

YEAR - HAS BANNED BOTH HONEYMOON AND BEVERLEY IN SOUTH A U S T R A L I A ,

AND HE HAS BEEN SUPPORTED BY SENATOR WALSH, SENATOR WALSH

HAS DONE SO O S T E N S I B L Y ON COMMERCIAL GROUNDS.

. W h a t t h e n i s t o h a p p e n when more c o m m e r c i a l l y .

ACCEPTABLE CONTRACTS COME . BEFORE THE GOVERNMENT - AS I S ,

FOR INSTANCE , L I K E L Y , ACCORDING TO PRESS REPORTS , IN THE

c a s e of Pa n c o n t i n e n t a l, Go v e r n m e n t s s h o u l d n o t p r e t e n d to

BE ABLE TO MAKE COMMERCIAL D E C I S I O N S OF T H I S K I N D . ALREADY

Se n a t o r Wa l s h i s on r e c o r d as s a y i n g ■ t h a t' Ro x b y Downs i s

"a PRETTY D I C E Y O P E R A T I O N " , I ENVY H I S A B I L I T Y TO MAKE COMMERCIAL

JUDGMENTS SO FAR DOWNSTREAM, BUT I QUESTION THE PROPRIETY ·

OF H I S DOING SO. I ALSO RECALL BERT K E L L Y ' S DICTUM THAT

ANYONE WITH THAT KIN D OF A B I L I T Y SHOULD BY RIGHTS BE R EL AX IN G

on t h e Ri v i e r a w i t h h i s f e e t i n a b u c k e t of c h a m p a g n e , T he

TRUTH I S' THAT WE CANNOT AFFORD TO S A C R I F I C E BOTH JOBS AND

EXPORT INCOME IN SO C A V A L I ER A F A S H I O N , MORAL AND S T RA T E GI C

C O N S I D E R A T I O N S A S I D E , THE COMMERC IA-L D E C I S I O N S SHOULD REST

WI TH THOSE BEST ABLE TO MAKE T H E M : THE DEVELOPERS . I T I S U N T H I N K A B L E

THAT WE SHOULD S A C R I F I C E SO MUCH - I N C L U D I N G EVERY OVERSEAS I N V E S T O R '

CONFI DENCE I N A U S T R A L I A - TO I D E O L O G I C A L P R E J U D I C E .

.no

-10 -

Ha v i n g, I h o p e , c o n v i n c e d y o u t h a t t h e s p i r i t ·.

of Co n n o r i s m s t i l l h a u n t s t h e c o r r i d o r s of p o w e r, l e t me

NOW END ON A MORE O P T I M I S T I C N O T E ,

. The m i n i n g i n d u s t r y -· as we a l l know - i s of e n o r m o u s

IMPORTANCE TO THE AUSTRALIAN. ECONOMY , IT ACCOUNTS FOR 6% .

OF GDP AND 3H% OF OUR EXPORT EARNINGS . I t IS E F F I C I E N T ,

I t c a n, a m a z i n g l y, s u r v i v e t h r o u g h r e c e s s i o n a n d. c y c l i c a l

DOWNTURN, AND PROSPER D E S P I T E STRUCTURAL I N E F F I C I E N C I E S

ELSEWHERE IN THE ECONOMY,

I n t h e p o l i t i c a l a r e n a, h o w e v e r, i t m u s t t a k e

IT S PLACE IN THE SCRAMBLE WITH OTHER PRESSURE GROUPS, SOME

STRONGER, SOME WEAKER . I t HAS BEEN TREATED ACCORDINGLY;

SOMETIMES AS A SEEMINGL Y I N E X H A U S T I B L E M I L C H - C O W , SOMETIMES :

AS A R E C I P I E N T OF GRACE AND F A VO U R , .

To A C E R T A I N EXTENT THAT IS THE I N E V I T A B L E RESULT

OF THE WAY OUR DEMOCRACY WORKS. BUT FROM TIME TO T I M E - AS

NOW, WHEN WE A R E ' IN O P P O S I T I O N - WE P A R T I C I P A N T S IN THE

DEMOCRATIC PROCESS DO HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO STAND BACK

TO CONSIDER MORE D I S P A S S I O N A T E L Y THE L E G I T I M A T E NEEDS OF ·

THOSE GROUPS.

The -m i n e r a l s a n d e n e r g y s e c t o r d o e s h a v e p a r t i c u l a r .

L E G I T I M A T E NEEDS ,

I t NEEDS S T A B I L I T Y AND P R E D I C T A B I L I T Y , A CLIMATE

CONT INU OUSLY FAVOURABLE T O . T H E MAKING OF LONG-TERM D EC I SI ON S -

D E C I S I O N S WHOSE EFFECTS W I L L OFTEN S T I L L BF. FELT AFTER THE

L I F E OF S I X OR SEVEN P A R L I A M E N T S .

. ./II

11

I t n e e d s to be t r e a t e d by g o v e r n m e n t w i t h b o t h

EQ U I T Y AND E F F I C I E N C Y UPPERMOST■ - P A R T I C U L A R L Y EVEN-HANDEDNESS

IN T A X A T I O N AND AM E F F I C I E N T L Y - O P E R A T I N G C A P I T A L MARKET .

I t NEEDS AM. ECONOMIC C L I M A T E i n w h i c h e f f i c i e n c y

IN INDUSTRY IS DULY REWARDED AND IN WHICH WE RECOGNISE THAT

THERE MUST BE L I M I T S TO THE EXP EC T AT IO N THAT THE E F F I C I E N T

W I L L ALWAYS HAVE TO CARRY THE I N E F F I C I E N T , .

. NO P O L I T I C A L SYSTEM CAN D E L I V E R QUITE THAT AMOUNT

OF GOOD, Ye t we m u s t TRY FOR SOME CLOSE A P PR OX I M AT I ON OF .

THAT GOAL , BECAUSE I T APPROXIMATES VERY CLOSELY AS WELL

TO WHAT WE NEED TO MAKE A U S T R A L I A - AND AU S T R A L I A N S - BOTH

MORE PROSPEROUS AND MORE SECURE,

. I HOPE THAT DURING T H I S PERIOD OF O P P O S I T I O N IN

my Pa r t y t h a t we a r e a b l e to b u i l d u p o n t h e s u c c e s s of t h e

PAST AND TO LEARN FROM ANY F A I L U R E S AND TO ENSURE THAT WE

HAVE A GOOD MAP FOR THE M I N I N G IN D U ST R Y, AS FOR THE WHOLE

of Au s t r a l i a, on our r e t u r n to Go v e r n m e n t ,

·«â–  W -H- ·#■■«â–  -iM F - 1 M M H H H M F

Printed by C. J. T hompson, Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra