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Mr Fraser at A.C.T. Liberal function



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PRESS OFFICE TRANSCRIPT 28 SEPTEMBER, 1978

MR. FRASER AT

A.C.T. LIBERAL FUNCTION

Ladies and Gentlemen, my Parliamentary colleagues, John Haslem and John Knight, Bob Ellicott,it' s a good thing when you can see so many people come to this dinner called by the Canberra Division of the Party and I think it's the first function

since the Election that I've attended in Canberra and I would like to thank you all for the work that was done during the election and for the way in which you supported and returned

and make sure it was successful for the Liberal candidate and members in the Australian Capital Territory. I believe, in recent years, you've seen a great resurgence of Liberalism in the Australian Capital Territory.That's due to many people, it's

due to yourselves, it's due to energetic Parliamentary representation and due also to representation in the Assembly. This is certainly a good thing to see because years and years ago, I think the Liberal Party £no.oA\'o\e) hardly existed but it didn't exist with the vigour and strength that it does at this point and this is something we want to build on to make sure

that the Party remains successful in the Australian Capital Territory. And that depends on what the Government does, it depends upon the Minister for the Capital Territory, it depends on the members and it depends upon yourselves and working

together I haven't the slightest doubt that we can be successful.

One of the important things about the Liberal Party and maybe at face, the most important, is that it does seek to represent all people in Australia no matter what they do and where they work and no matter what lifestyle they might choose to lead.

I think it's the only Party in Australia that can, in that sense, claim to be truly national, truly representative of the aspirations of the great majority of Australians. It does attract people from all walks of life, from all activities and quite clearly as we've seen tonight, from all age groups. That

indeed is a good thing and it's a central objective of the Government to make sure that the appeal of the Party, and of the Party's policies, are broad-based. At the moment a great deal of work is going into a new Federal platform which will be published next year will be designed to reinforce the basic beliefs of the Party and to emphasise that this is a Party

for all Australians, for all the working men and women of this nation.

One of the great differences again, with earlier times, is that many people who might have had determined leanings with the Australian Labor Party in past years, I think have forsaken that Party and now recognize that we represent their interests better than the Labor Party ever can. In the last two elections Australians of factories, in the blue-collar area, are finding

that there are more people on the shop floor with Liberal stickers on their work clothes than Labor stickers. I think it's quite and exciting thing to see. But that couldn't have happened, I think, or it certainly didn't happen, even five years ago and

ten years ago would have been even more remote. I believe that particular factor does demonstrate the Liberal Party has got a very broad-based appeal and it certainly is our objective to maintain that.

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Over the two to three years we've been re-building the economic structure and fabric of Australia. There have clearly been some difficult moments. There have obviously been one or two difficult decisions that have had to be made from time to time but I think it's important again, s

that we keep our eyes clear sighted on the objectives. Clear-sighted on what we are aiming for and what we are .

working for. I think its easier to do this now, and to say this, than maybe it was a year ago because there are runs on the Board, there are successes that are recognized in Australia and indeed around the world and the light on the hill is much closer for us, much more easy to define than it would have been even 12 months ago. Because we have now had remarkable success in the major part of our objectives;

in getting inflation down and in beginning the movement down in interest rates which as it progresses will mean so much for home buyers, so much for people running businesses whether they are small businesses or large, as the price of money comes down.

Over the next few weeks and months I am quite sure that movement has got to progress further and the benefits will start to flow out quite widely throughout the Australian economy.

In past years, Australian industries became quite uncompetitive, even in our own markets, certainly uncompetitive in export markets. Profits went up too much, inflation was too high, wage costs went up too much and inflation here was much worse

than it was - than most of the countries we were trading with. To restore our competitive position, to give our industries a chance of living, a chance of breathing, to give a chance at providing more jobs for Australians, we had to make sure that inflation would come below that of our major trading partners that would stay below and then we would be more competitive and get a larger share of our domestic market and a larger share of world markets. Now I think we've succeeded in the first step of that. That doesn't mean to say we stop and we pause, we don't

Inflation in Australia, as we all know, is going down and is significantly below that in the United States, Canada, Britain, France and Italy, where inflation has stalled at a high level, or rising -— as it is in most of those countries — and so our

own position will be improving steadily as inflation comes down even further in this country. That I think is indeed good news. Its recognized overseas by people who would want to invest in this country. Its recognized by Australian investors that

success in this arena is quite vital to economic recovery, to jobs for the working men and women of Australia and indeed for any country.

One of the great misfortunes in the advanced industrial countries around the world at the present time is that the policies necessary to achieve this result are recognized and I think in some of the smaller Scandanavian countries, but then in Germany and Japan and Australia, they are not adequately recognized

in Canada and North America and Britain and France and Italy, which have a major contribution to make to the health of the world economy and to the expansion of world trade.

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That basically means that there isn't going to be any significant uplift in world trade, I think, in the forseeable future.If they maintain their present policies I think the world economy will stay in the doldrums through a significant part of the 1980's. Now that doesn't in any' sense fill me with dismay because while it will be much easier to achieve the kind of economic recovery and revival we have in Australia if the general world economy was moving in the right direction and if all other countries were pursuing

I think better policies than they are just at this moment, it would make our task much easier even if they don't pursue the sorts of policies that we believe are necessary that are still well within our capacity to do what we can, what we

should, and what we intend for all Australians. Because again, as we become more competitive, we will get a larger share of our own markets. We'll get a larger share of export markets and a number of Australian firms are now doing

exciting things and selling difficult products in some of the toughest and most competitive markets in the world and that process will continue.

As we develop and emphasise further the stability and strength in the Australian economy, and also because we have many major resources that the world needs, we will have had more than a normal share of world investment and major resource projects.

So, even if the rest of the world is in a degree of difficulty, it is well within the capacity of Australia as friends working in partnership with the Australian Government, to make sure

that we take this country forward with a great degree of confidence and enthusiasm for the early 1980's and indeed for the whole decade. I haven't got the slightest doubt that our policies are succeeding, that this view is held with us, not only by people of Australia, but also overseas. In recent days, or since the Budget, although the feelings (\

financial centres in London and New York, which mean just this - that there are not many countries I can invest in, there are not many countries we've got confidence in, but there is Germany and there is Australia and that's starting to couple this nation with pretty respectable countries because Germany is one of the very few countries that has maintained a tight rein on itself

throughout all this last difficult period. That^sbecause they've learnt the tragic and terrible lessons decades earlier}didn't fall into the problem or the error of allowing inflation to run riot over the last ten years as it has in so many other places. When we start to be coupled with Germany, or coupled with Japan as a country that can run an economy well and properly, that all goes well again, for the future of Australia.

We are getting these matters right - translated into the terms that affect Australians everywhere -translates itself into more activity by Australians in this nation - more investment in this country from many countries in the world with greater

role for Australia as a trading nation, as a resource supplier and much more activity than would otherwise be the case.

I think we are a long way on the road to achieving all of that. In the process, of course, we have to be concerned with other matters and we are. We can't put the economic objectives alone and say that's all there is to Government. It's not, there is

a lot more to it than that; showing a concern for the

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disadvantaged, showing a concern for the people that need special help. And even in this last Budget in a number of areas where we believe the dollars need to be increased, there were substantial increases in areas of real need. Being able

to continue in all this depends very much on an understanding between the Branches in the Party, between the State division, this division and the Federal Party, being able to work in cooperation, being able to respond, being able to know what your concerns and fears and hopes and aspirations are, being

able to know what you think we ought to be doing so that at the very least we can take that very seriously into account when decisions are made. So far as Canberra is concerned, John Haslem and John Knight certainly keep us very well informed of the views of people in the Australian Capital Territory and

the Division does itself, and Tony Eggleton of the Federal Secretariat also has a very significant role to play. I have the greatest possible confidence in the Liberal Party, its members in the organization and in the Parliament. I have

an even greater confidence in all the people of Australia working in partnership, knowing what they want to achieve and their capacity to do just that to make this one of the greatest nations the world has seen.

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