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Tuesday, 28 April 1987
Page: 1865

Senator GILES —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer. Has the Minister's attention been drawn to the results of a survey of Australian-based financial market dealers published in the Australian Financial Review of 14 April? What are the indications in that survey regarding business confidence in the Hawke Government's economic policies?

Senator WALSH —I have seen the report in question. Indeed, I have a copy of it before me. It is headed `Financial Dealers Give Thumbs up to Government Policies.' While I would not like it to be thought that I believe that the financial dealers are infallible or even the most knowledgeable group of people or the group best qualified to make judgments about the economic competence of the Government, it is nevertheless very significant that such a group of people whom, given their background and occupation one would expect to be hostile to Labor governments, should have given this Government a stamp of approval in the way that it has. According to the survey, 90 per cent of respondents described the Federal Government's economic management as excellent or satisfactory, and therefore only 10 per cent described it as poor. When asked `Do you think a coalition Government would make better economic managers?' 77 1/2 per cent of the respondents said no. Notwithstanding my earlier reservations about the infallibility or otherwise of this particular group of people, 77 1/2 per cent are certainly spot on when they say there is no chance that a coalition government would provide a team to manage the economy better than the Labor Government.

The final point I wish to make is that this demonstrates very convincingly-again leaving aside the question of fallibility or infallibility-that the high profile comments of the Elliotts, McLachlans and Hays of this world have not impressed at all a group of people that under more normal circumstances one might expect right wing views to impress. The business sector is not at all impressed by the opinions given so frequently and forcefully by McLachlan, Elliott, Hay and company. Indeed, it is fair to conclude that the statements made by that trio are geared to their personal political party ambitions rather than to anything else.