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Thursday, 2 April 1987
Page: 1983


Mr HOWARD (Leader of the Opposition) —Madam Speaker, I seek leave to make a personal explanation.


Madam SPEAKER —Does the honourable member claim to have been misrepresented?


Mr HOWARD —Yes.


Mr Young —This is like Blue Hills.


Mr HOWARD —While your mob keep doing it it will keep going on. During Question Time the Treasurer (Mr Keating) quite wrongly and falsely claimed that the Opposition's policy on privatisation and my commitment to it specifically were based on the proposition that any proceeds from the sale of public assets would be used to finance either taxation cuts or expenditure-in other words, current consumption. I draw the House's attention to the fact that in the speech I delivered to the National Press Club on 28 August 1985 I dealt in some detail with the principles of the Opposition's approach in this area. In particular-this is relevant to the misrepresentation by the Treasurer-I had this to say-

As I have said before, it would be entering a new fiscal fool's paradise to use the proceeds of privatisation to finance current consumption. The proceeds of the sale of government assets should be used to reduce our existing national debt and for no other purpose.

That was an explicit statement of the basis of our approach and in every single statement made on behalf of the Opposition since, either by me or the shadow Treasurer, we have repeatedly said that. I have not witnessed in this House for months a more deliberate and monstrous misrepresentation than that by the Treasurer.


Madam SPEAKER —Order! The honourable member may not go on to attack any member of the House within his personal explanation.