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Speech in Portland



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PRIME MINISTER

FRIDAY 17 OCTOBER 1980

SPEECH IN PORTLAND

Ladies and gentlemen it’s good to be here and it's good to be on home ground. It has been a long campaign and in some ways I suppose a difficult one. But the issues in front of all of us tomorrow are very important ones. We had a terrible legacy five years ago. It was really like trying to rebuild a country that

had gone bankrupt in liquidation - just what Bob Hawke has done to Bourke's store in Melbourne, except he is not going to rebuild that, he is just getting out of it. And we had to rebuild

businesses, the- enterprise > the farms so that they could be profitable again. And I can remember five years farmers saying to me - now really what should I persuade my kid to do. Is there a future on the land? Should we persuade him to go down to university or to college and try and get a job in the cities.

And manufacturers were saying - well what are going to be able to do, because the home market is small and with the costs we have we are never going to be able to export again.

All that is changed. We have recaptured markets for a major part of the products overseas. We have built up security in America and Japan. We have even reopened the doors into Europe a bit, not all that much but enough to lean on it further with the continuation of present policies. As a result of that our farming industries have basically got reasonable prices, except for those who are at

the moment experiencing a very severe drought, and that is too many. That is always a possibility in Australia. But without good markets overseas there is just no hope for our farming

industries and we now have those markets. And for our manufacturers five years ago they were saying they would never be able to export again. Now they are exporting. Manufactured exports have grossed 30 per cent last year. And it is not just a question of industry

and industry profits. When we produce more Australian made goods we employ more Australian men and women to work in those factories and to work on the farms.

And as a result of the new competitiveness in Australian business and enterprise and in our primary industries, employment grew more over the last 12 months than it has grown for ten yearsV ~And teenage employment· has grown more than it has for the last 15 years. And we are also getting great mining projects moving ahead. But because we dropped medical supplies and certain forms of energy in Australia we are also going to attract a lot more processing to Australia. And here in Portland we are going to see the results

of part of that with the new aluminium smelter that is going to be built. And I suppose that is going to be important for (inaud) than anyone has known for a long while. Part of the quietness of the town might be gone. But it will be more jobs, more opportunities

for more Australians. .

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Among the things that our political opponents seem never to understand is that there is not going to be a better standard of living for Australian families, for Australian children. Governments are not going to have the resources that they need

to provide the sorts of schools and the hospitals and the roads and all the other things which are expected of governments in a modern society, unless we can have an expanding and growing

Australia with industries that can produce more and sell more' and therefore employ more.

So growth is very important to all our other ambitions, to our families or as a nation, and our policies we have designed to achieve that. Australia had been brought to a dead halt five years ago and we have got the country moving again. I think it v/ould be a more than great pity, I think it would be a tragedy

of a major order if that is going to be interrupted by a second dose of the sort of policies that we had in ..the Whitlam years. I notice in the Melbourne Herald today, and they haven't got all that much about this election - they said that the only thing

that is different between Mr. Hayden' and Mr. Whitlam are the two people and that the policies are in fact exactly the same. ' Both after the election wanting to spend an awful lot more money and even their own figures an extra $1,900 million. And I would have

thought that is a fair bit. But that is only five programmes. In the policy speech they said they would cost other things. They still haven't. And they have been able to get away with not costing them. And they have not really been pested all that much even though I have mentioned them in nearly every speech I have made. But they are going to the people of Australia with a mass-ive programme uncosted. And there is not a treasure chest

that politicians have access to. The only treasure chest that politicians have access to are the pockets and the bank accounts and the earnings of Australians, wherever they may be and whatever government's (inaud) comes out of higher inflation or higher taxation in one form or another. Those particular

expenditure policies will unleash inflation and make it hard for the farming community, harder to meet the (inaud) industry, harder to sell (inaud)

On top of that you have got the sort of approach to wages which the Labor Party look at and (inaud) when award wages went up by 40 per cent in one year. And how many businesses can stand that; how many farmers can (inaud) and still be able to make a quota.

It makes it all very difficult. (inaud) and the 35 hour week. Can you really believe that this is the sort of Australia that he wants - on 35 hours a week I just do not think it is possible. And that in itself 30 per cent to the cost of employing every

single person in the country. (inaud) the best people will be employed and I think it is a careless policy and one that shows no concern at all for the difficulties that some Australians do have in getting work. With those policies - either the expenditure policies of the Party would push inflation up until it had doubled or around 20 per cent. I also think that is a very modest

suggestion (inaud) ... We know how much damage that, does to all sorts of people and it strikes right at the heart of a nation. And on top of that there are all the tax policies (inaud) capital gains tax, wealth taxes - which most people think that - well I'm not wealthy therefore it does not apply to me. But Mr. Hayden has a sliding capital gains tax (inaud) . He took the example of a house, bought for a certain price and sold for a higher price

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and you pay tax on the difference, taxing the homes and the assets and the savings of Australian families. And the wealth tax just does it on an annual basis. Well then they've said they might not even produce those taxes for a little while and that just sounds like a condemned prisoner - a short time repreive, because their ambitions (inaud) I have no doubt is to introduce

taxes of that kind. And it is in their social (inaud). It has been repeated time after time after time and again over the last two to three years. It is in their platform. It should make a · difference and even he had withdrawn the promises, Mr. Hayden

said on an ABC programme he would introduce all of these commitments in the first three years if there were a Labor Government. And all these things together I think will set Australia back so far that we would not recover again this side of the year 2000.

We had a Labor experiment. We had a socialist experiment and surely people can remember how disastrous it was. It would be very easy to oppose, though this election promises to be. But we were conscious that everything that we promised has to be paid

for by the tax payer. And it is not much good if the tax accountant, the decision out of (inaud) would only go up by three times the tax cut. That makes a tax cut look a pretty thin thing. It makes it look a pretty cheap device. So we decided to offer

that we think is much more important to the people of Australia and that is responsibility of rebuilding this nation. Every person, every family has to be responsible in the way they manage their family affairs and if a kid or anyone in that family wants to

spend too much and it gets a bit beyond the family income, somebody in the family has to say no and we've got to stack them up a bit Otherwise the house gets mortgaged and you get into debt. And it is exactly the same nation. We can only spend in any one years what we earn as a nation and unless governments keep the faith

in relationship to that I do not suppose there is any one else that can (inaud). ■ . .

So we made up our minds that we would only do what is responsible or is possible to do if you are looking to find the frame. And we have gone to the people of Australia on that. Now despite whatever these polls might say over the last few days I believe when people go into that gallup box tomorrow they will vote for

their families first, for Australia first, for responsibility first. Because that is the only way we can build a better Australia.

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