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Wednesday, 9 October 1991
Page: 1539


Mr RONALDSON —-My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Is the Prime Minister aware of the changes to the Budget imposed by Caucus in the dying days of the Whitlam Government? Has the Prime Minister drawn any lessons from Mr Whitlam's experience or is he determined to follow the same downward path?


Mr HAWKE —-That is a deadly one. I have been in politics for a long time and, as an intelligent person, yes, I have tried to draw lessons from the past. One would be a damn fool if one did not. It is true that I have drawn some lessons from the period of the Whitlam Government. I have also drawn some lessons from the period of the Liberal-National Party in government. The Liberal-National Party came to government in 1975 with the clearest mandate in the postwar period; it had provided to it an opportunity to undertake significant reform in this country. There has never been a government in the history of this country which has so flopped its mandate. That does not just happen to be my judgment; I notice that this potential Prime Minister, this current Leader of the Opposition, is a man who shares that judgment, because the other day he accused Mr Malcolm Fraser of lacking in courage.


Dr Hewson —-What about the one million unemployed?


Mr HAWKE —-It is no good mumbling about the unemployed. I will take the Leader of the Opposition right up on that. Mr Acting Speaker, this gentleman was the economic adviser to the successor of the Whitlam Government. That Government produced something that had never been produced before in the history of this country: with the advice of the current Leader of the Opposition, it produced simultaneous double digit inflation and double digit unemployment. That was the achievement of the Leader of the Opposition. No wonder he wants to turn his back on it.

What does he do when he is faced with the fact of that unique record of simultaneous double digit inflation and double digit unemployment when he was the economic adviser? He now tries to crawl away. He tries to rat on Mr Fraser by saying, `Of course, it wasn't my fault; it wasn't the fault of the economic adviser. I gave him the right advice, but Malcolm Fraser did not have the courage'. What a performance!

What do you say now? We will listen to your argument and say that it was not really your fault. You were the economic adviser. You accepted your hefty pay packet as an adviser and produced those results. All right, we will take it now that John Hewson is the man who says, `Well, I gave him the right advice, but Malcolm Fraser didn't have the courage to take it'. I do not know what it says about the honourable member for Bennelong, who was the Treasurer. Did he have the courage to take it or was he lacking in courage too? You accuse Fraser of lacking in courage. The man who accuses Fraser of lacking in courage is the man who was rolled by Senator Newman.

I remind the House of what happened. Dame Beryl Beaurepaire rang up this man of courage, the Leader of the Opposition, and said, `John, John, I have got a very important decision I want to make. I want to charge an entrance fee to part of the War Memorial. Will that be all right, John?'. And John Hewson, this man of courage, said to Dame Beryl Beaurepaire, `Yes, that will be all right'.


Mr Fife —-Mr Acting Speaker, I rise on two points of order. Firstly, the Prime Minister's answer is not relevant to the question. Secondly, you, Mr Acting Speaker, and the Speaker have on repeated occasions drawn the attention of members on both sides of the House to the fact that we should address members by their titles.


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —-The honourable member is correct. Honourable members should refer to other members by their correct title.


Mr Scholes —-Mr Acting Speaker, I also rise on a point of order. The Manager of Opposition Business has said that the answer is not relevant to the question. I would draw your attention to the content of the question, which was that Caucus altered the Budget of the Whitlam Government in the dying days of the Whitlam Government. The last Whitlam Budget was never passed by the Parliament; therefore, it could not have been altered.


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —-There is no point of order.

Mr Broadbent interjecting--


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —-The honourable member for Corinella!

Opposition members interjecting--


Mr ACTING SPEAKER —-I ask the Prime Minister to wait until Opposition members restrain themselves.


Mr HAWKE —-Come on, turn around.

Opposition members interjecting--


Mr HAWKE —-So that we get the story on the record, I remind the House that the Leader of the Opposition said to Dame Beryl Beaurepaire, `Yes, that will be all right. That will be okay'. But Dame Beryl Beaurepaire had a better idea of the nature of the courage and the character of the Leader of the Opposition, because she said to him, `Oh, but what about Jocelyn?'. That is Senator Jocelyn Newman. They were not my words but Dame Beryl Beaurepaire's. Dame Beryl Beaurepaire said to him, `What about Jocelyn?'. The immortal reply of this courageous Leader of the Opposition was, `Don't worry about Jocelyn, I will fix her up'. We know the story. They got into the party room, and who fixed whom? Jocelyn Newman rolled the Leader of the Opposition. She did him like a dinner--this man of courage. He has the temerity to say that Malcolm Fraser lacked courage, and he could not even roll Jocelyn Newman on the question of an entry fee to the War Memorial.

I draw lessons from the Whitlam period and I draw lessons from the Fraser period. As a result of drawing those lessons I was able to beat Fraser in 1983, to win in 1984, to win in 1987, to win in 1990, and I am looking forward to whoever it is I will be taking on in 1993. I conclude by saying that I am not normally a praying man, but at the moment I am praying that, against the odds, the person I have to take on will be the Leader of the Opposition.