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ABC broadcast by the Prime Minister



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EMBARGO: 8.45PM 15 MAY 1974

PRIME MINISTER

15 May 1974

A.B.C. BROADCAST BY THE PRIME MINISTER - MR. E.G. WHITLAM, Q.C., M.P.,

During the past week the issues in this election have emerged quite clearly, quite starkly and unmistakably. Tonight I want you to consider those issues with me, to look at the facts on which you make your choice next Saturday. Forget the propaganda,

forget the phony and expensive advertising of our opponents, and face the issues squarely. What are the facts about this election, about the Opposition, about the Government record, about the policies we present to the Australian people?

First of all, there is the simple fact of Australia's unparalleled prosperity. There has never been a time when Australians were better off, when our economy was healthier, when real incomes were higher, when business was more buoyant. We have full employment. We have a high rate of growth. We have

record production. We have record numbers of people in the workforce The Australian economy is one of the healthiest in the world. So that is the first fact you should bear in mind.

Next, there are the facts about inflation. The Country Party and the Liberals have made much of this issue, but they have forgotton to tell you that Australia's inflation last year was caused by Mr. Snedden himself - by his refusal to take firm, decisive action when he was Treasurer. Remember this: when Labor came to power, inflation was already at its highest level for 20 years. The dollar was gorssly undervalued and a flood of foreign money was pouring into the country, straining our resources and buying up our industries on the cheap. The Liberals and the Country Party

shirked these problems. My Government did not. We acted promptly and decisively. And the results are now beginning to show. So that is the second fact you should remember: our policies are working.

Inflation is coming down.

Let me give you the evidence for that. The latest Consumer Price Index showed a drop of 33% in the inflation rate for the March quarter. No country in the world showed a more dramatic improvement. Australia is one of the 24 member nations of the

Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development - the world's principal trading and industrial nations. Every one of those nations has the problem of inflation - every one of them. Last year, as a result of Liberal policies, Australia was sixth from

the top of that list in our rate of inflation. Today we are fourth from the bottom. That's a pretty good record.

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package Next, I ask you to consider Mr Snedden1s so-called against inflation. We now know what it would mean.

First, restore to special interests the subsidies and concessions we have cut in our fight against inflation. They amount to nearly $500 million in all - and that would have to come from increased taxes, or from reduced spending on schools, welfare, health, cities.

Secondly, freeze wages - suspend the Arbitration Commission, set aside Federal awards and let incomes be set by State politicians.

Thirdly, - cut essential government spending - that means cut spending on schools, hospitals, welfare, cities - because, I assure you, they are the only areas where significant cuts could be made.

I think Mr Snedden's economic proposals are best summed up by this comment in the Australian Financial Review, our leading business and economic journal. The Financial Review said of Mr Snedden's policy: "As an intellectually sustainable

proposition, it was simply unbelievable."

That brings me to the next simple fact in this election: the Opposition is divided. All their confusion, all their muddled and contradictory promises, result from their divisions. In the past few days you have seen what a mess they got themselves

into over petrol prices. Mr Anthony promised to raise the price of crude oil; Mr Snedden did his best to repudiate that commitment. Again, only the other day you heard a quite scathing and intemperate attack on Mr Chipp by Sir Robert Askin. You will remember the deep divisions, the mass resignations, in the Victorian branch of the Liberal Party only three weeks ago. I could go on. The fact is that the Opposition, in its present state,

is unfit to govern.

So much, then, for their policies and their unity. How do they compare with the Government? The fact is that Australia now has a strong, united and determined Government. We have restored full employment. By doubling expenditure on education we have given a new deal to Australia's children. We have raised pensions three times and set about abolishing the means test. We

have given new hope to the sick, the elderly, the disadvantaged. We have given Australia a new pride and standing in the world. We have forged new trade treaties and opened up vast new markets for our goods. We have made a great start in rebuilding our

cities, preserving the environment and defending Australian ownership of our precious resources. There is more - much more - to be done to make Australia a truly just, humane and decent society We want to get on with it. We have far-reaching plans for such

things as the care and education of children under five - 360,000 of them have no parent with them throughout the working day - and tax deductions for home loans - to bring interest rates down to the levels of 1963.

Finally, my fellow Australians, what are the facts about the election itself? It is an election that should never have happened.

is an election forced upon us by a violation of every accepted onstitutional principle by parties which you put out of office 17 months ago but which still had a majority in a Senate elected 3*5 and 6% years ago. It could not have happened in any other country in the world. Australian democracy was shamed in the eyes of all our neighbours. Our opponents now ask you to turn back - back to the past, back to the men and the policies you emphatically rejected. I ask of you one thing - a fair go, a fair go for our

policies, a fair go for our programs, a fair go to get on with the job you elected us to do. The choice is between turning back and moving forward with strong, stable Government. And because I respect your judgement, because I respect your intelligence, because I respect your sense of fair play as well as your hopes

for a greater and brighter future, I know what your decision will be.

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