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Denial of Senate obstruction



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STATEMENT BY SENATOR R.G.WITHERS LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION IN THE SENATE

The Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, Senator R.G.Withers, today denied that the Opposition was preventing the Labor Government from taking the necessary action to manage Australia's present economic difficulties.

Senator Withers was replying to the Minister for Labour, Mr Cameron, who, when addressing the Young Labor Conference in Adelaide, said that the Government could not undertake unpopular economic policies because of possible Opposition action.

" Unpopularity has not prevented this Government taking action in the past," Senator Withers said.

" After all it was this Government that deliberately fuelled inflation and unemployment. ,

" It was this Government that made injudicious tariff cuts that helped create massive unemployment.

" It was this Government that deliberately raised interest rates.

" This Government's unpopularity could hardly be higher.

" Any of Mr Cameron's so called unpopular measures would not add to it further.

" Mr Cameron, as Minister for Labour, has presided over the highest unemployment this country has known since the depression, but he offers no solution, he merely throws up his hands in despair and says there is nothing he or the Government can do to prevent it. .

" This is typical of the inept and ineffective attitude of this Government."

Senator Withers said Mr Cameron had once offered to resign if unĀ­ employment reached 250,000.

He had failed to do so.

" His credibility on what he says now or what he says on any other issue must therefore be open to question," he said.

" The Opposition has not, and will not, stand in the way of.the Government taking action which will ease the suffering of the Australian people.

" The Opposition would welcome such action and it would certainly not be opposed.

" Making excuses and looking for scapegoats, which this Government is doing is not going to solve Australia's problems.

" Unless the Government realises that it is its policy of transferring resources away from the private sector to the public sector that is one of the root causes of our problems then the Government will never come near to solving our difficulties.

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" If this Government is not prepared to take the appropriate action it should resign."

CANBERRA

27th January/ 1975