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Monday, 11 November 1985
Page: 1906

Senator ELSTOB(5.09) —I understand that there is approximately five minutes left in which to discuss this matter of public importance. As a senator from South Australia, I wish to say a few words on the matter of public importance, which was brought up by Senator Hill. All State Premiers and Prime Ministers today have to be financial managers. It is very important that the leaders in the community, whether Premiers or Prime Ministers, be financial managers. It is very important for the people of South Australia to look at what is happening in the bankruptcy area. In all the States governed by Labor there has been a reduction in the bankruptcy rate. South Australia has the second lowest bankruptcy rate in Australia. This year there were 662 bankruptcies-a reduction on last year's figure. By way of illustration, in Queensland there were 1,000 bankruptcies. In Queensland the number of bankruptcies has increased by 15.6 per cent and in South Australia it has decreased by 14.6 per cent. That is an important matter for the people to consider when they go to the ballot box to vote on how a Premier or a Prime Minister has performed. It is important that they be business managers.

It is possible that Mr Bannon will obtain for his State the submarine contract. I do not have any doubt about that. All I ask is that the people of South Australia judge whether Mr Bannon or Mr Olsen would be the best business manager. Mr Bannon is a top businessman. He has brought stability to the motor industry. As my colleague Senator Foreman disclosed in an earlier speech, he brought the Grand Prix to South Australia. Many people within my own Party thought that it would not be possible to pull that off. However, it proved to be highly successful and provided a benefit to the State in terms of millions of dollars of advertising.

Senator Hill —A chance to get taxes down.

Senator ELSTOB —The taxes that had to be imposed by Bannon came about because of the actions of the former Tonkin Government. The Tonkin Government was the worst business manager in the State's history. It left a deficit of $60m. No State government can run a deficit of that magnitude. States cannot run deficits of any kind. Bannon had to reduce the deficit. It is important that he retain leadership of the South Australian Government.

Senator McIntosh —He will.

Senator ELSTOB —He will. He will win an overall majority. The people of South Australia understand that South Australia has the best opportunity of obtaining the submarine contract.

Senator Vanstone —Why?

Senator ELSTOB —Because it will bring many new industries to the State and will open up and develop many opportunities. Anyone in the know is aware that the two States that have the best chance of obtaining the contract are Western Australia and South Australia.

Senator Hill —By coincidence both facing elections.

Senator ELSTOB —South Australia has the opportunity. Over a number of years Labor governments in South Australia have put in place top management in a large number of fields. They have helped industry and have received the confidence of industry. That is not what the Liberal Party has done. There is too much infighting within the Liberal Party both at the State and at the Federal level. There is not stability in the Liberal Party. There has not been stability for the past 20 years. A party which has infighting cannot be run properly. There is plenty of infighting on a State and Federal level. The Liberal Party does not concern itself with the improvement of people's lives. It is interested simply in financial matters. The Liberal Party provided more opportunities for people in this country to be dishonest. What is more, it allowed people to evade and avoid taxation. In fact, it encouraged them to do so.

Senator Teague —I raise a point of order. Mr Deputy President, I would like you to ask Senator Elstob to withdraw that remark, which is that Liberals allowed more opportunity for dishonesty. It is offensive to me as a Liberal. I believe it also to be downright untrue. I think the remark is objectionable and I would be very grateful if he would withdraw such a charge.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! The Standing Orders provide for detrimental remarks about individuals to be withdrawn, but not in the collective sense about parties. Senator Elstob may withdraw to facilitate the proceedings of the Senate, but he is not obliged to do so.

Senator ELSTOB —It is on record that over a number of years the Liberal Party has allowed the situation to deteriorate. Because some people in the business field have been able to avoid or evade taxation, other business people have become uncompetitive. A country cannot be competitive if one section of its community is avoiding or evading taxation. This has stifled business in this country. That is why the people of South Australia, and Western Australia, when an election is held in that State, will support Labor governments. They will support them because they are the top business managers today. Leaders must be top business people.

Senator Cook —They create more jobs.

Senator ELSTOB —They create jobs and they create the wealth which creates employment. If there is more confidence people will invest.

Senator Cook —Get inflation down.

Senator ELSTOB —Inflation has been the greatest killer in this country for many years. It has been caused simply by a lack of management in the Liberal Party. That is why the people of South Australia most certainly will re-endorse the Labor Government and will return it to office.

The DEPUTY PRESIDENT —Order! The time allotted under Standing Orders for the consideration of the matter of public importance has expired.