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Country Party dominates the Opposition



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PRIME MINISTER

11 May 1974

-Ij. AUSTRALIA,,!.1'

COUNTRY PARTY DOMINATES THE OPPOSITION

The most sinister factor in this campaign is the power and influence of the Country Party over its Liberal partners. Liberal voters should remember that a vote for the coalition is a vote for the domination of the Country Party - the most selfish, sectional and reactionary of the major parties in Australia.

If we look at the record of the coalition we see repeated evidence of the Country Party's power to browbeat and manipulate the Liberals.

In the great row over the value of the dollar in December 1971, the Country Party threatened to smash the coalition if the value of the dollar was raised. The Liberals caved in, the dollar was kept under-valued and the seeds of

inflation were sown.

The Country Party has now abandoned any pretence to be a farmers' party. It has become the party of the foreign mining corporations and manufacturing interests.

Under Country Party pressure, Mr Snedden has promised lavish tax concessions and incentives for industries that are already working at full production and enjoying record profits.

Under Country Party pressure, Mr Snedden has promised to remove all restraints on the inflow of foreign money and give foreign interests an open go to buy up Australian resources.

Under Country Party pressure, Mr Snedden and Mr Fairbairn have committed themselves to push up the price of petrol for Australian motorists - a price now held in check by the decision of the Prices Justification Tribunal. No wonder the Opposition parties are scrambling to back away from that commitment.

Mr Anthony makes no secret of his ambition to be Treasurer and Mr Snedden refuses to say who his Treasurer would be. Judging by his record, it is highly doubtful if Mr Snedden would have the guts to resist this latest Country Party demand.

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Let there be no mistake : with the Country Party in charge of the Treasury, Australia would quickly rever to the conditions that produced our inflation in 1972 and 1973 - an under-valued dollar, a flood of foreign money buying up our natural resources, a host of costly tax lurks and concessions

to sectional interests. The government's policies have reversed these conditions, we are beating inflation - despite the fact that every one of our anti-inflationary measures was resisted by the Opposition.

The greatest instrument for helping Australia's primary industries - not the Pitt Street and Collins Street farmer, but the primary industries that really need help - is the new Industries Assistance Commission. The Country Party opposed that Commission. They fought it every inch of the way in Parliament.

Whatever name the Country Party uses - National Alliance, National Country Party, National Party - its policies are the same. Those policies mean lavish hand-outs to sectional interests at the taxpayers' expense.

The Country Party in Queensland maintains the most flagrant electoral gerrymander to be found anywhere in Australia. The Queensland Government is dominated by a party that won 20% of the vote.

Do we want that situation in the national parliament as well? Do we want a national government dominated by a sectional minority party linked to the most discredited of all parties - the D.L.P.?

Mr Anthony must be having serious second thoughts about his half-baked merger with the D.L.P.

The Country Party leader in New South Wales, Sir Charles Cutler, would not have a bar of the D.L.P. Sir John MeEwen wouldn't have a bar of the D.L.P. Australians won't have a bar of the D.L.P.

They won't have a bar of a coalition deeply involved and officially linked with D.L.P. extremism.

A government led by Mr Snedden would by under the thumb of a Country Party-D.L.P. alliance - a combination of the worst right-wing elements in Australia. It would be a disaster for the nation.

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