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New portfolio for former Treasurer



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New portfolio for former Treasurer 30 October 1977 — In a statement today, the Leader . of the Opposition, the Hon. E. G. Whitlam, said: j Mr Hayden and I have discussed his earlier expressed ! view that in the next Labor Government he would wish to be Foreign Minister. It should be emphasised that what­ ever Mr Hayden's portfolio in any Labor Government, he would be deeply involved in economic policy. The disap­ pointment expressed in some quarters overlooked the fact ! that he had been one of the five members of the Cabinet Economic Committee established early in 1975, before he became Treasurer, and will again be a member of that : committee when Labor re-establishes i t There has been : considerable misunderstanding of the nature of the decision-making processes of a Labor Government. That itself is perhaps the highest tribute to Mr Hayden's stature as a former Treasurer and an economic manager.

We have been particularly impressed by Mr Fraser’s acknowledgement of Mr Hayden’s standing. Mr Hayden’s wish to serve as Foreign Minister has been based on a recognition of the growing relevance to Australia’s econ­ omy of international matters and in particular, his view that one of the most urgent and important problems facing the world and Australia is the widening gap and increas­ ing confrontation between the developed and the develop­ ing nations.

Nobody, however, could have anticipated how seriously the economy would deteriorate under the Fraser Government’s mismanagement Nor could we have an­ ticipated that Mr Fraser would panic into an election be­ fore the full impact of his economic policies has been felt It is now clear that the incoming Labor Government will have to concentrate its energies and efforts overwhelm­ ingly on the task of economic recovery in 1978. Mr Hayden has told me that he would serve wherever I de­ cided he should, in the best interests of the Party in government and of the nation served by that government.

1 have therefore decided, in the interests of marshalling immediately and directly the full economic experience and expertise of the next Labor Government, that Mr Hayden should concentrate on economic policy matters. Accord­ ingly, I have invited him to establish the major new De­ partment of Economic Development. This recognises the need for structural adjustment in Australia, the deepening balance of payments problem and the increasing inter­ national content of major economic policy. The incoming Labor Government will thus have, with Ministers of the calibre of Bill Hayden, Chris Hurford and Ralph Willis, the strongest economic team and the best structures to get Australia working again.