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Rob leads the sweaty palms orchestra



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PARLIAMENT of AUSTRALIA HOU36 OF REPRESENTATIVES

RELEASE PRESS

M

0* JOHN ft. HEWSON. M > MEMBER FOR WENTWORTH

Shadow Minister for Finance

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY C. I. s.

No. 38/88 6 O c t o b e r , 1988

BOB LEADS THE SWEATY PALMS ORCHESTRA

The Treasurer must hate going overseas because every time he does Bob Hawke runs amok on a number of major policy areas.

Old Sweaty Palms is back. Bob is panicking. Having been able to find little consolation in the Victorian election result, Bob is running around all over Oxley, and elsewhere, trying to buy

back electoral support.

In a blistering Rambo-style attack yesterday Bob shot holes 'in three areas of the Government's economic policy.

First, he is now talking about "giving primacy (only he could use that word > to wage cuts at the lower and middle income levels of the income scales". While admitting that "there could be some staging" in terms of lowering of the top tax rate from

49 cents.

This raises the question of who speaks on tax for the Hawke Government. The Prime Minister has now adopted a third position on tax. The Treasurer has expressed a disposition to moving to 39 cents as soon as possible while the Minister for Finance

seems to resist the idea of lowering the top tax rate and talks in terms of the advantages of more "progressivity" in our tax . structure.

Second, the Prime Minister yesterday seemed to abandon the so- called "no wage increase strategy" for 1989/90. I had thought that this strategy had formed'the basis of discussions between the Government and the ACTU; there , would be minimal, preferably no, wage increase next year to be. achieved by substantial tax cuts.

This certainly seems to be what the Treasurer was saying yesterday to a New York business audience. But Bob doesn't seem to agree. Indeed, to quote explicitly from his satellite hook up to that business audience, "it's rather unrealistic to talk about no wage rise".

T h i r d , the Prime Minister now apparently also wants to

compensate wage earners for the costs of interest rate

increases, by increasing wages accordingly.

Surely this is the clearest admission we have had from this Government that interest rates are indeed going up. They have

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obviously given up on interest rates and decided -in true Banana Republic fashion - to simply live with them and compensate people for them.

Have a good look at Bob's hands. The sweat beads will be quite evident.

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