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Electorate talk



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EMBARGOED UNTIL 5PM

PRIME MINISTER

FOR. MEDIA SUNDAY, OCTOBER 26 1980

ELECTORATE TALK

I want to take this earliest opportunity, following last .

week's election, of thanking all Australians who supported the Liberal National Country Party Government in an election which was vital to our prospects in the years ahead.

In retrospect, it can be said that many important factors emerged from last week's result. In the first place, Australians demonstrated their commitment to seeking a stable

and secure economic future, based on maintaining the economic . achievements of the past, and building upon them. For only in. this way can we provide greater opportunities for Australians.

Secondly, the result demonstrated agreement amongst Australians that whatever the problems we might face, we. must not. deceive \ ourselves that there are simple 'quick fix' solutions. Thirdly, the result highlighted the increasing awareness amongst the electorate that whatever governments promise must, in the end, be paid for by all Australians through higher taxation.

Indeed, the election result represents a rejection of bigger government and increased government expenditure as valid options for the 80s. Finally, it is now generally agreed that it was

an election where some of the media was often too preoccupied with polls and forecasts, and often too little concerned with the vital issues that face us in the decades ahead.

The return of the Fraser-Anthony Government demonstrates a firm commitment by Australians to the continuation of the fight against inflation, and the pursuit of sustainable economic growth, for without these, all our hopes for the future as. individuals, and as a nation, will falter.

Already this week we have had evidence of an improvement in our inflation position. The rise in consumer prices in the last three months was less than for any three month period since March 1979. The result is a reduction in our annual

inflation rate. But this is not the time for self-congratulation, for already pressures are building up within the Australian economy which, if not contained, will place an intolerable burden upon our economic strength. In particular, the selfish pursuit of excessive wages has emerged again as the single most

significant threat to the economic progress we have made.

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Union leadership is agitating for full indexation of wages, and at the same time, union leadership is seeking before the Arbitration Commission, a continuation of productivity awards, work valu'e decisions, and the right to collective bargaining. '

On top of this, significant sections within the union leadership continue to argue for a shorter working week with all the damaging consequences this would produce for our costs, profitability and employment.

The Government is determined to make sure that these pressures are resisted, especially so since they run counter to the best interests of individual union memb e r s , and we will continue our policy of ^improving the rights of individual trade unionists. Secret ballot "provisions will be extended to enable employees in a work place to apply for a secret ballot to express their

views on strike action, and the Government will legislate to facilitate amalgamation of unions where there is a community of interest.

I believe that the people of Australia said On October 18 that they wanted a continuation of the economic security that has been won over the last five years. As I have said before, the

significant majority we have won will be used to support constructively all Australians and all Australian families. Only this week we have seen the introduction into Australia of multicultural * television, designed to reflect the cultural diversity that is currently central to our way of life. The movement, towards multicultural television reflects the growing understanding of a contribution that has been made to Australia in cultural and economic terms by generations of . · . .

families who have come here from overseas. Multicultural ; . television will allow all Australians to share in the.background, the history and the culture of other Australians, and all this contributes to the building of a stronger and a more, unified Australia.

We are fully mindful that in any democratic society, there are many people on polling day who express support for the party that does not form a government. So it was last Saturday week. But in all we do in the three years ahead of us, our commitment

is to govern for all Australians. Already discussions have taken place with a view to bringing into effect commitments we made at the beginning of the election campaign. .

One of the most important of these is our. commitment to provide further assistance for the unemployed. We realise that there are some young people who find difficulty in obtaining employment. We also realise the importance of sustaining in these young

people the motivation to seek training and work experience.

In my election policy speech, I undertook on behalf of the Government to introduce a transition allowance equal to the level of unemployment benefit together with $6 a week. It will be paid to young people who have been unemployed for at least

four months, and who wish to take part in transition courses, or young people who have been unemployed for ^.t least eight months and who enrol in a full time, technical and further education course where that course is likely to lead to their gaining

employment. We will proceed immediately with the implementation · . of this programme.

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We have also undertaken to expand the Special Youth Employment Training Programme by providing a higher subsidy of up to $80 a week to employers taking on 18 to 24 years olds who have

been unemployed for 8 months in the last 12. After 17 w e e k s , the subsidy will continue for a further 17 weeks at $50 a week.

As currently exists with the present SYETP, these allowances will be adjusted in accordance with movements in male adult average award w a g e s . .

In addition, eligibility for the Special Youth Employment Training Programme will be extended to all young people who have successfully completed one of the transition courses and are returning to the work force. This automatic eligibility will

increase the value of the transition.programme by helping young people to follow up their formal training with immediate work experience. There will be no let up in the action being

taken by the Government to attack the problem of youth unemployment. ·

But parallel to this action must be the realisation that the long term benefit to be gained for young people depends, upon an economy where the fight against inflation is unrelenting; and where incentives to profitability are not removed by higher taxation. By our economic m a n a g e m e n t ,

and our specific p r o g r a m m e s w e are determined to continue - ■ ­ the emerging trfend towards higher general employment and teenage employment that has occurred in the last 12 m o n t h s . ;

In other important areas, undertakings given by the Government in the policy speech will be acted upon with urgency. In this way we will, as a government, continue to work unceasingly .-

for all Australians, to secure in the years ahead the economic and national security which is so important to us all.

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