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Ararat public meeting



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Jx, AUSTRALIA,,#^

PRIME MINISTER

FRIDAY 17 OCTOBER 1980

ARARAT PUBLIC MEETING

I would like to thank you all for coming here today, especially the younger people of which there are a number here. I know · · everyone is busy and one of the things I hop you are getting busy for is preparing to have all those booths manned tomorrow. I

thank you for the opportunity to be with you and to speak with · . you for a few moments.

The decision that is made tomorrow is going to be a vastly important one. Tom has mentioned briefly the state of Australia when we took over five years ago. But being more particular about that we can all remember the state of Australia's farming

and pastoralist industries, and therefore Australia's country towns which are so often dependent upon profitable rural industries for their own wellbeing. And there were many farmers who approached in those times and who were saying - do you think there's any future for my kid on the land - should I try and persuade him to

go down to Melbourne to get a job in a factory - or to go. to a college or a university - what is the future for Australia's rural industries? What is the future for. the people who live in the decentralised parts, the country towns and cities and on the farms?

I would have said in answer to that - give us a little while in government and you will be able to rebuild confidence and re­ establish markets overseas that have been lost; and" re-establish

the profitability of Australia's farming enterprises, and re-establish the position where people can look to the future with a great deal of confidence. I think that has been achieved. We have more . secure to the important markets overseas in the United States and

in Japan. We have even opened the door into Europe a bit, not much but it is at least open and we will be able to build on that and work upon it.

And as a result of better world markets, we have, with the exception of drought areas, which are very severe in a number of parts of Australia at the moment - but with the exception of that prices for Australia's for Australia's main rural commodities and also for a number of new rural industries are reasonable, and the prospects for the future are sound. We have built much of the -

fabric of support that is necessary to encourage rural industries, because of variable prices and difficult seasons and therefore special policies are needed in Government. And I think we have done much to help achieve that, and in the last policy speech we ' indicated that we will build on that further. And it is the same also in the manufacturing industry. Five years ago manufacturers would say - we'll never export again. Wages have'gone up. Costs

have gone up so much we can't sell what we produce. You can . . . 2

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hardly even sell in Australia and therefore we're scaling down, and we're employing less.

Manufactured exports rose 30 per cent last year and our manufacturers are now getting out into the markets in nearly every country in the world. And we are even competing, and competing successfully with some of the much lower wage cost countries from Southeast Asia. We are doing that because our manufacturers have been encouraged We are doing that because they have the initiative and skill of ■

Australian working people. But Government policies are absolutely critical for the wellbeing of Australian industry and therefore to the capacity of Australian men and women to find the kind of jobs that they would want or that would'need. .

We have established a network of support for manufacturing industry - exporting centres, an investment allowance. Mr. Hayden had a policy launched in small business policy about three weeks ago. There was not much in it. But four days after that he aimed a dagger at the heart of all small business, which includes manufacturing, tertiary and farming businesses, by saying he was going to take away the investment allowance. That is immediately

$100,000 million additional tax on small business. Many people ' would have done their sums on the basis of getting that allowance and therefore being able to sell goods at a certain price which would be competitive in Australian and overseas markets. Without

it they would all have to redo their sums again. And if they can not sell because of those measures are taken away, then they cannot employ.

One of the things that our political opponents seem never able to understand is that people of this country are only going to have the living standards that they would want, there are only going to be jobs for Australians, and there are only going to be resources

for local governments, State Governments or Federal Governments to provide the sorts of services that people would want if this economy is growing and expanding. If you knock off Australian enterprise and destroy the profitability of Australia's farms,· make it impossible for our manufacturing industries to sell as costs go up, then in these circumstances it is quite plain that families will not have the resources that they want for their own living

standards and governments will not have the resources that they " need to provide their services. And that is when governments that are slightly mad go straight to the printing press and they think they can do it that way. But they cannot. That is just another . way of making, the people of Australia pay for it.

We have also over the last few years tried to underpin and support the finances of local government in a way which gives them the greatest security for the future without putting too much burden on their own rate notes·. And all that is working and it provides

a very solid base on which we can build and expand for future years. Sometimes I think people feel that Australia is a lucky country. These things will just happen that we do not have to work at it; that we do not sometimes have to take difficult

decisions to make sure that this economic wellbeing - the families in the country remain secure. And that is so false, because we found once before how easy it is to have this wellbeing destroyed.

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The Labor Party, as I believe, are offering three major threats to the future of Australia. The first is increased expenditure, and even on their own figures they want an extra $1,900 million each year and I would have thought that is a fair sum. But the

actual cost of those programmes is at least $1,000 million more than that. And on top of that there are 250 other programmes that Mr. Hayden said he would have costed in his policy speech; that he would issue a supplementary statement. But that supplementary

statement has not appeared to this day. And I am quite certain it has not appeared simply because if he did cost those programmes all Australians would know that the bill was a horror one. And I am also sure that Australians now know that politicians do not have any secret treasure chest; that if politicians promise

something it is going to have to be paid for out of the taxes on Australian men and women, or if not out of taxes then out of inflation. And both are equally bad.

We need to take note of the wage policies of the Australian Council of Trade Unions because these policies were introduced in support by Mr. Hawke when he was President of the ACTU and at the same time when he was President of the Labor Party. And I am quite certain that he is committed to implementing those policies

if there were a Labor Government from an (inaud) . And it is worth noting also that when he was in those twin positions at an earlier time, when award wages went up nearly 40 per cent in one year, much of the material factors contributing to inflation and

the unprofitability of Australian enterprise and the incapacity of Australian enterprise would be able to employ. Farming costs went up 30 per cent in one year, partly as a result of that. But under the wage policies which Mr. Hawke is committed to support

there is 100 per cent indexation, and productivity claims and work value claims. Everything he can get out of collective bargaining on top of that, together with a 35 hour week. Can you really believe that we can build a nation on 35 hours a week. That alone would add 20 per cent to the cost of employing every person

employed in Australia. That alone would inevitably lead to more · unemployment because less Australian goods would be sold. And ' that simple equation seems to be not understood by the Australian Labor Party. .

The wage policies on top of expenditure policies would push to massive heights and I am left very strongly with the impression that Mr. Hawke wants to do to Australia what so effectively he has done to Bourke's store. Perhaps you haven't been past Bourke's

store recently - the end, (inaud), liquidated, bankrupt. But there is another part of the occasion. Mr. Hayden started this election claiming that he had funded his proposals by various. forms of new taxation. Now I know that he has in part withdrawn

from those submissions, because they seem to be unpopular. But after he had in part withdrawn from them, he reaffirmed his total commitment to every one of them, on a very deliberate ABC programme. And I think that is not readily understood. Part of that

commitment is to a capital gains tax. And as Mr. Hayden gave the example of a house in describing how capital gains tax would work. You buy a house for a certain value. You sell it for a higher value and you pay a capital gains tax on the difference. That is

a tax on the assets, the savings, the attitude, the initiative of Australian families. But if people think that is fair enough their idea of a wealth tax is a good deal worse, because that is a tax on the assets of Australian families every year, and the

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few countries that are unfortunate enough to have such a tax -that is the way it works. You add up the value of your house, the belongings in it. You add to that the value of anything you have got in the savings bank or the building society and you pay a tax on the total, irrespective or not of whether it is earning you income, whether you had an income or not. And what does small business do if you have a bad year and you don't have enough profit. Do you have to sell up the business, sell up the · · ' trading stock? Or a farmer who might have a drought - do you have to sell a paddock to pay that kind of tax? Mr. Bowen, the Deputy Leader has said that the Labor Party's wealth tax would raise $1,500 million a year and that is quite a substantial sum. And he has a wealth tax specialist on his staff, somebody who had previously been employed by that great moderate union, the Amalgamated Metalworkers. He had done a wealth tax paper for the metal workers which gave two examples of how wealth tax would effect work. 'Wealth' is a good word because everyone thinks it applies to somebody else who really is wealthy and not to themselves. This paper slightly confuses you, because it said in this paper that if you apply the wealth tax on all wealth over $7,000 at 4% per cent you would get as much out of that as you now get out of

the tariff or personal income tax above $7,000. But then it gave an alternative approach on a sliding scale and by the time you got to $150,000 or $200,000, which I suppose is not all that much for somebody who owns a house and is running a small business or a small farm - the annual that was suggested should be levied was

12% per cent. On $200,000 that seems to come to $25,000 a year. It seems almost incredible but it does show the way socialists who want to socialise think about people who have worked up a business and have tried to establish that sort of business. And the very fact that Mr. Hayden has equivocated about his commitments

to these things - whether they are real or whether they are not should cause the greatest possible concern. And even if he did back-track at one point in this campaign I do not really think you

can take much notice of that because it is Labor Caucuses that tell Labor Prime Ministers and Governments what to do. And if they wanted to say it is in the platform, it was in the prior commitments

you just go ahead and do it. It would not matter what he had said during the actual campaign itself. And so there is a very great deal at stake in this campaign. Are we going to build on the foundations which have been painstakingly laid over five years -

foundations which have re-established profitability of so many Australian enterprises in the country and in the city and which are giving governments the resources to enable them to match their needs to provide better services for the elderly, for the sick; or

are we going to allow the path that will blow it all. High taxation, high inflation, massive government expenditure, which to get back to the productive capacity - a tax paying capacity of all ' Australians.

The choice is really a pretty stark one and it is going to determine what happens to Australia for quite a long while ahead. Mr. Whitlam had a capacity to multiply inflation by 3% times between 1972 and 1975. When I suggested that Mr. Hayden would push inflation to

20 per cent I was being pretty modest because I am only suggesting that he has about half Mr. Whitlam's capacity - .that he. would only double inflation instead of multiplying it by 3% times. But if that shows the order of what did happen and of what could happen. And we have so much within our grasp. Now it is for all these

reasons that I am confident and remain confident about the outcome

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tomorrow, because no matter what people might put down as a mark on a poll, that mark is not for real and it cannot be made for real. It is not going to alter anything. It just gives a headline

in newspapers. But what is for real is what people put on the ballot box.tomorrow. And that is going to determine whether they, their families have a good future of whether they do not. And all

I would do is to ask when people are voting to think of their families, to think of their children and to think of Australia. That they have to do that I have not the slightest doubt about the outcome tomorrow night. '

I would like to thank you ladies and gentlemen for being here and I would also like you to do something that Tom suggested. I have no doubt he.will be speaking to a number of people between now' and tomorrow or tomorrow night. And you never know - everyone a

convert to make the difference. The difference between getting a third Senator from the Liberal Party or from somebody else who might hold the balance of power in an unpredictable way. And even one vote can sometimes make that difference.· So the stakes are high. It is worth going out and getting that one vote and then another and another and adding it to what would otherwise be the position. There is a great deal to work for. There is Australia

to work for and there is still time to do a little bit more to help guarantee that future.

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