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Prime Minister's address to the Commonwealth reception, Brisbane



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PRESS OFFICE TRANSCRIPT TUESDAY, MARCH 1/ ±ytil

PRIME MINISTER'S ADDRESS TO THE COMMONWEALTH RECEPTION, BRISBANE

Prime Minister: *

Mr Premier, my colleagues, ladies and gentlemen. I just thought that since we don't often do this in Queensland that I would say something for a moment dr two.

Earlier this year we made the decision that we were going to have a Cabinet meeting in Queensland and the Northern - Territory and Western Australia and Adelaide and in Hobart, and do it in a concerted and deliberate way so that I, and

all my colleagues could be here and have an opportunity to meet with a number of Queenslanders in a way which might not be possible if we had come in quickly for a function and out again, as so often happens when Federal Ministers and Members come into Queensland - or for that matter, to any other State.

I welcome the opportunity that I have had yesterday, today and again, I think, at breakfast tomorrow morning, to meet a number of people and to discuss what is going on in the

State. I welcome the opportunity for discussions that I have had with the Premier. I am quite sure that my own Ministers welcome very much the discussions that they have had with the State government. Again, it has been possible to do

this in a way which I think is not possible if we are merely having our Cabinet meetings in Canberra. I really do think it is Joh'sturn to have a Cabinet meeting in Canberra, next time around, but I won't make it a condition - we tend to come back regardless.

The lunch today which the Premier very kindly gave us " was an economy lunch to demonstrate that the State was not affluent - I had better not say what he gave us, because we could never have afforded it. He then showed

us the Cabinet room and said 'this is much nicer than the place where you are meeting, down in some other building'. I felt like moving in then and there - we could have taken it over.

The discussions we have had have been very useful indeed, I think, ladies and gentlemen, with State and Commonwealth governments working in partnership and harmony.

I would just like to reflect for a moment on what has "

happened to Australia over the last five years, because we all know the state we were in at the end of 1975. When you compare what has happened in Australia in the years since with what has happened in America, Britain or France

or Germany - or nearly any other advanced industrial country that you can name - the prospects now as we face the 1980s are better in Australia than any country you could name.

In this, in a sense, it is all the more remarkable because Australia used to be influenced very greatly by world trade and for that matter, we significantly still are, but if world

trade was slack, if there was recession or depression in major countries overseas, that would be having a dramatic effect on the prices for our rural products - what we could sell, what · · . / 2

we could do and the general level of activity in Australia. But over this last five years, because of our policies/ because of the opportunities open to Australia, we have gone against the world trend. While other countries have been doing worse, we have done better. While their inflation has got higher,

ours has got lower. While their economies have been shrinking, ours is starting to grow strongly.

In this State, a growth of 4.7% in employment last year - Queensland isn't quite a country, but what other country in the Western world could have had that performance over the last twelve months. -

This shows that there are many people who have enormous confidence in this State, and in Australia, many people "

preparing to back Australia with their dollars. That of course, augers well for the future. But this doesn't happen by accident. I know we have great reserves of coal and shale oil. We have great reserves of minerals. But these things are not going , -

to be developed if governments don't have the right policies and you have to have the right policies in the States and the rights policies in Canberra. The policies have worked in such a way that we are now looking at the threshhold of

the 1980s with a confidence unparalleled with opportunities unparalleled.

That doesn't mean to say there won't be difficulties - there will b e . - Shortages of skilled labour, pressures on inflation of a new kind, but I would much sooner have these problems to deal with than the problems of stagnation and decay which was the state five years ago when we first came into office.

So, even though there is an occasional matter - very occasional - in which we disagree with the Premier, and as he said at lunchtime, they are generally matters of no consequence at all, so whatever serious differences we have had, they have been about matters of no consequence.

What has happened to the State of Queensland over the last five years under the joint administration of the Queensland government and of the Commonwealth government in those areas where we impinge 'on the prerogatives of the State, but in

a way that is necessary because it is all one country, then the result is one which is one I think all Queenslanders and all Australians can be proud of. -

I have not got the slightest doubt of our capacity to carry all this forward very well and to the advantage and the benefit of all Queenslanders and all Australians in the years ahead.

So, Joh .thank you very much for your hospitality that you have given us. I welcomed very much the opportunity to ask you all here tonight. I am going to get into trouble because a cousin of mine was left off the list when I asked him to be put on

and he is not here, and someone else is not here, and I am sorry for that. But thank you all for coming. I and my colleagues welcome very much the opportuhity to meet you in a less formal way than might normally be the case and we are going

to be back repeating this particular exercise because we are all part of the best country in the world, and it is our joint determination to make it even better. ends