Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Speech to Lilley electorate at Eagle Farm Racecourse



Download PDFDownload PDF

10*0

PRIME MINISTER

FOR MEDIA ' WEDNESDAY 4 JUNE 1980

SPEECH TO LILLEY ELECTORATE AT EAGLE FARM RACECOURSE

It is a great pleasure to be back in Queensland and I am grateful for the welcome that you have given Tamie and me this evening.

Indeed, we are honoured to be in the company of so many men and women of Queensland, whose energy, initiative, vision and above all, whose confidence in'* 1 Queensland have underwritten the development that has taken place in this State.

I am grateful, in particular, for the efforts of Kevin Cairns and his Committee who have made this evening possible.

May I also, in passing, commend the Queensland Youth Orchestra Trio, who have played for us this evening.

I know what fine ambassadors this orchestra have been for your State;, and I join with you in wishing them well at the World Festival of Youth Orchestras at Aberdeen next month.

As you know, tomorrow I will officiate at the ceremony which marks the commencement of a magnificent new international airport for Brisbane. .

This will be an undertaking which will rank alongside other great development that is occurring in Queensland.

It is an investment which will be a vital part of Queensland's progress.

It is only fitting, that as another chapter in Queensland's history is about to open up, we should be meeting tonight in the Guineas Room as Eagle Farm Racecourse. .

For one cannot ignore the web of history that surrounds Eagle Farm - history that identifies it with Queensland's colourful past.

From beginnings' as far back as Queensland "itself, the name of Eagle Farm has become synonymous with aviation history and thoroughbred racing.

Little more than fifty years ago, crowds gathered on this racecourse to salute the achievements of Bert Hinkler, Charles Kingsford Smith, Charles Ulm and Amy Johnson. .

Quite properly, the "Southern Cross" has found a permanent home in Queensland, currently near the domestic terminals appropriately honouring one of the greatest flying feats of all time. .

. . . 2

2

Of course, not all Queensland's sons and daughters have had their greatness saluted at Eagle Farm.

Jim Killen would want me to say, though you need no reminding, that one of Australia's greatest racehorses, Bernborough, from Queensland's Darling Downs, despite magnificent efforts nearby at Doomben, never won at this track.

It is illuminating and fascinating to look back and to capture some of the flavour of history.

But our immediate concern is with the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. '

The extent of these opportunities is a direct consequence of the Government's achievements over the last four years.

And they gain in significance when it is remembered that on comi&Fg to office we were challenged by a difficult inheritance.

Inflation in one 12 month period had risen to 17 per cent. But ■ what was just as difficult to overcome, was the damaging inflation of public expectations about what Governments could provide.

As these expectations were fed, inflation ran to 5 per cent above the OECD average; confidence in the Australian economy dwindled and investment dried up.

Indeed, far from looking as we are now, at prospective opportunities, many industries then were evaluating their prospects of survival. Many did not survive.

Amongst those industries devastated by the economic climate of the time were the rural industries. In separate 12 month periods, real income per farm fell by over 40 per cent; farm unit costs increased by 30 per cent; and, as if this were not enough, the beef industry was excluded from the Japanese market.

And during its period in office, the Labor Party did nothing about the loss of markets.in Europe and Japan.

But let us turn those pages. Who would have imagined the success . story to be read since then.

In the year ended June 79, real income per farm had almost doubled since 1975-76.

Of course, the vagaries of the weather can never be anticipated and drought conditions earlier in the year threatened the continuing rural recovery.

Fortunately, recent widespread rainfall has helped crop and pasture prospects, though I know there are still many producers in Southern Queensland, facing a tough winter. Nonetheless, the value of rural production is expected to be 60 per cent higher this year

than the level of two years ago.

This result would not have been possible without the Government's economic measures and its successful negotiations to re-open market doors in Japan, USA and the EEC. . . . 3

3

One significant case in point is the success achieved by the Government in securing a reduction in the US duty on raw wool - an area where previous Governments have, for decades, failed. "

Our overall strategies for development of our industries are based on the responsibility of Government to restore a stable economic climate in which business can plan and.make decisions.

Because we believe that much of the future prosperity of our industries will come from a fuller participation in world trade, the Government is dedicated to maintaining and improving its overall competitive position. The 38 per cent increase in the value of manufactured exports, last year, is witness to the

success of these policies.

These, and other achievements, derive from our success in fighting inflation - in absolute and relative terms. . .

Our inflation rate in the twelve months to March this year of 10.5 per cent compares with that of the USA of over 14 per cent; the United Kingdom, over 19 per cent, and the OECD generally of over 13 per cent. Now, our economic strength, our political

stability, our abundant natural resources; our proven skill in finding and developing them; and our favourable proximity to the expanding markets to our'north; all these enable us to confront a difficult international environment with confidence and optimism. Such feelings are shared by investors at home and abroad.

The Department of Industry and Commerce survey shows Australia ..with $17 billion of investments ready to go; a significant reflection that a new era of growth is opening up in Australia. And Queensland is sharing in this resurging confidence.

New coal projects are already competing successfully on international markets; and prospective aluminium smelters are part of an international demand to locate energy intensive industries in Australia, at the source of cheaper coal-fired electricity.

In the last four and a half years, Australia has compiled an impressive and commanding record of national development. This takes a step forward in Queensland tomorrow with the beginning of the new Brisbane International Airport project.

The project's beginning is a triumph over Labor indifference. In the mid 1970s, when, in one twelve month period Commonwealth Government spending rose by 46 per cent, and Federal award wages increased by 38 per cent, the Labor Government was able to afford everything but the Brisbane Airport redevelopment. Then again,

in 1977, following my Government's commitment to Brisbane Airport, a senior spokesman in the Labor Party lent his authority to the anti-Queensland position by arguing that Labor was not going to drag any Brisbane Airport out of Pandora's box.

What is puzzling about the Labor Party is that they are often afflicted with a paralysis in decision making when it comes to identifying and supporting initiatives of national importance, ' yet they are totally unapologetic about other draconian forms of

intervention in the economy.

. . . 4

4

Indeed, as we move towards another election campaign,.the public expectations which were fostered in the mid-1970s are . being cultivated again. Amongst the Labor Party's tawdry wares, two garments remain from old. Firstly, massive Government .

spending - a bigger and more expensive version than before.

Secondly, the mantle of the Left/ which leading Labor spokesmen wear all the time these days. As Mr. Hayden peddles these . dubious wares with his curious tales, like the medicine man of old, we get an inkling of what he is about. It all has.a familiar

ring.

More money for housing, more money for health, more money for . job schemes. In just four areas alone, he has committed his party, with tax payers money of course, to expenditure of between 1,500 and 2,000 million dollars a year, on our estimates.

And it is only June. Where will they be on the Day of Judgement?

But, undeterred by the public's rejection, Mr. Hayden and.his band of spenders plough on. Not content with existing programmes Labor plans to buy into great monuments of waste like a national trading corporation, an Australian manpower office, a national

fuel and energy commission, an Australian hydro-carbon corporation and a national investment fund.

All areas where Government has no right to be - areas where Government control would sacrifice efficiency, accountability, innovation, flexibility and market adjustment. It hardly needs a vivid imagination to concede what these schemes will do for business confidence, for development, for inflation and unemployment.

But Labor are not daunted by any of these certainties. So perhaps a little forgiveness is in order. After all, Mr. Hayden is doing no more than taking us for a stroll down Memory Lane - to the freewheeling big-spending Whitlam days. But he travels with more recklessness than even his predecessor. He admits this himself.

In December last year, he reminded us that his revenue raising proposals were: "... somewhat more radical than had been outlined up to December 1972".

Labor's solution still seems to be that if you throw money at the problem, it will go away. And the promise to keep the taxpayer's money rolling in is unequivocal. I have no doubt that this is just what they would do. Mr. Hayden has said as·

much: "... I have committed my organisation to a capital gains ' tax, a resource rental tax, a levy on domestic oil producers, a number of initiatives in the tax area and other measures of that nature ..." . . ..

But then he baulked a little. It was left to Ralph Willis,, his right-hand man on economic affairs, to spell it out. It is x, "wrong" he said, that we do not have "some form of tax on capital, -

be it death duties, capital gains tax, wealth tax, or perhaps . some kind of combination of those, or all three." :.. 5

5

And in the likely possibility that even these schemes could not fully meet the extravagant bill, Mr. Hayden was not going to . let a few billion dollars beat him, and said:

"... We would support a larger domestic deficit to help fund (them)."

But perhaps all these are the dictates of a higher master. The Labor door has opened more widely in recent months, and there stands Mr. Hayden, a captive of the Left.

All his lieutenants are with him, having lurched to the Left, and they are not budging.

Some have managed to escape temporarily from the prison and cry in the wilderness.

Like Mr. Hawke, who called Mr. Hayden's wages policy "a gutless sell-out to the Left".

Φ .

These are rare exceptions.

Closer to home, Senator Georges - who you would all know as an occasional overnight guest of the Government in this State - made no bones where he stood on the political scales.

In the Senate, in March this year, he proclaimed:

"... There is more dignity and morality in the Soviet Union than there is in our own society and in many Western societies."

There is no need to condemn: such language condemns itself.

A senior writer in the Melbourne Age recently echoed the sentiments of other commentators when he said:

"... Some aspects of Labor policy as presented by φ senior spokesmen are remarkably similar to those of one or other of the Australian communist groupings."

Such a criticism indicates that the threats to our achievements of recent years, are always present. The advantages we now enjoy can easily be squandered. That is why we must stiffen our

dedication to our values and our beliefs in order that the Australia we hand on to our children is a better place for the role we have played in it.

But for this to happen, we must expect that, as a nation and as individuals, difficult decisions and often sacrifices will be required. Not since World War II has this been more urgent on the international front. Especially if we are to avoid the consequences brought about by apathy and indifference in the

1930s.

The brutal and unprovoked Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has brought about a fundamentally new situation in East-West relations. For too long the Soviet leadership has shown that where it perceives the opportunity for a Soviet advance, the concern for peace is instantly put aside.

. . . 6

6

4

Remember the invasion of Hungary in 1956; the Berlin Wall in 1961; the Cuban missile crisis in 1962; the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968. And, since what has been described as detente, we have seen the Soviet Union, actively and openly

seeking to further its international influence by subversion, by the provision of arms, and by the use of surrogates in: Angola, Ethiopia, The Yemen, and Vietnam. ’

All this has created the disturbing human problem of three million refugees without a permanent home as the result of Soviet expansion. Now, for the first time, Soviet forces have been directly used in military operations against a non-aligned Third World country. And still, six months after the invasion,

over 85,000 Soviet soldiers are locked in conflict with Afghan freedom fighters.

This Soviet behaviour, under the umbrella of detente, poses new challenges for the Western alliance - the NATO countries, Japan, Australia and New Zealand; and indeed, for all like minded countries concerned for the preservation of democratic values

and national sovereignty.

How well has the West responded to these challenges? One would have to say, until recently, not especially well. Even now, there are some discordant notes - some timidity, some lack of generosity of spirit in the way American allies have met President Carter's appeals for solidarity in applying sanctions

to the Soviet Union.

We play into the hands of the Soviet Union when we allow them to enjoy any suggestion of disunity amongst the defenders of freedom and independence. Regrettably in Australia, the Labor Opposition have not helped in achieving solidarity within the Western alliances, against the Soviet Union.

Why is it that the Labor Party find it easier to criticise the United States than to support them? Why is it that Mr. Hayden accuses President Carter of election year politics almost as though President Carter had engineered the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. This cannot be said without undermining the

collective Western effort.

At a time when the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan has been condemned by the U.N. General Assembly; the Islamic Conference; the European Parliament; the British Parliament; and the New Zealand Labor Party; it is inevitable that the Soviet Union will welcome as brothers and sympathisers those who are unable to

lend their whole hearted support to the Western response

to the measures adopted by independently minded countries to bring home to the Soviet Union that its naked aggression and preoccupation with expansion will not be tolerated. Experience over 35 years has shown that peace and stability in the world

can best be secured by strength; by resolution; by unity of purpose; by co-operation within the western alliance. The Olympic Games boycott by major sporting nations is the most dramatic manifestation of this. '

. . . 7

However, as the American Secretary of State, Mr. Muskie, recently commented, it is important to keep channels of communication open to the Soviet Union. But it is equally important, in all high level contacts with the Soviet '

leadership, that Western leaders continue to convey a firm and united message - that restoration of more normal East-West ' relations is possible, but only when the privileges of detente . are- matched by behaviour from the Soviet Union which indicates

clearly that they are prepared to play their role as a responsible member of the international community.

Undeniably, new international challenges confront us. But challenge has been with us throughout history. It has involved nations, and men and women, in difficult choices, significant decisions. Such decisions and choices are of great moment to our young people, the quality of whose lives in the years ahead depends so much on the response that is made to challenge now. We need to understand the challenge, the danger, the threat. We

need a clear eye for our own objectives; a firm hand in reaching our goals. Let us proclaim the principles that guide the values we defend. 9 When decisions appear hard and complex, let us look to our principles and our objectives in order to clear the course

that we must pursue. For world leaders, as for individuals, that course must lie in supporting together the defence of human values and the cause of mankind, by sending a clear signal to Moscow. A signal,. whose strength demonstrates to the Soviet Union that the judgements of the world cannot be ignored.

Each of us has a role to play in sending that signal. Each of us has a commitment to our own future. Without that commitment, our freedom and, perhaps, in the end, its existence, will not be sustained. This commitment, this responsibility, is the

duty for Australians that goes with being a country of great privileges and endowments.

That is why each generation must be prepared to defend for itself the right to liberty, if liberty and the pursuit of happiness are to be guaranteed and secured. What we defend is an inheritance & which extends beyond the span of a lifetime. Today's responsibility

is ours. Let us fulfill it well.

--000--