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Thursday, 28 August 1980
Page: 914

Mr SAINSBURY (Eden) (Monaro) - On Tuesday night honourable members on this side of the House listened very carefully to a speech by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden) hoping that they would find some clue as to the way the Opposition might think after the next election if it happens to be returned to power. Although we listened intently, we heard nothing that could give any hope for the Australian economy being carried forward under that sort of government in any way that could provide opportunities for our children in the way that we have been used to for many years. The more we listened to that speech the more we heard the personal abuse that poured forth from the Leader of the Opposition's mouth, the more promises we heard that were completely unattainable and the more we realised that like the 1975 Budget speech of the Australian Labor Party, the speech made by the Leader of the Opposition, was a complete hoax. We heard allegations against this Government about levels of taxation. We heard allegations against this Government about ways in which we somehow should have created jobs in the economy. We heard of no positive means by which this country could be set on its course other than the means by which the present Government is setting the economy on its course.

We heard that between 1976 and 1980 there was a difference of $ 1 6 in real wages for the average family, a statistic that is completely unsubstantiated, a statistic that is completely selective, a statistic that denies the fact that

Australia now has a non-farm growth rate of some three per cent, something the Labor Party could never have achieved at this stage with the sorts of policies that it was offering to us when it went out of office. We heard that a Labor Government would put a tax on pretty well everything that moved while at the same time it would offer somehow a tax reduction.

I think it is interesting to remember that in the months leading up to the Budget the Labor Party has quite clearly stated its policy on taxation, first of all through the lips of the shadow Treasurer, who quite plainly has told the Australian people that as time goes on we would have to expect much higher taxation in order to fuel the programs of the Labor Party. That is something that the Labor Party has not tried to run away from, even though there seems to be some very minor alternatives offered in this Budget. The thing that was not said that probably needs to be repeated over again and that the Australian people need to remember is that the Labor Party is committed again to an estate duty, a tax that this Government removed two or three years ago and which has been of tremendous help to many people in my electorate, particularly those involved in primary industry.

The Labor Party has promised some form of supertax on people on high incomes. We do not know the size of the super tax at this stage, but we suspect that it would mean that many of the productive elements in our society, many of the people who are on high incomes, but who nevertheless are essential in some number in our society to participate in investment, will be beaten up by the tax man to such an extent that much of the incentive the present Government has been able to restore to this economy would be blown out again. We also need to remember the penalising resource tax that the Labor Party has in mind. Such a resource tax would mean that a Labor Government would say to a person who took an old-fashioned risk: 'You go out and take the risk. As soon as you start to make money out of your risk, we will tax you'. That sort of attitude is just not on in our country.

Mr Barry Jones (LALOR, VICTORIA) - When have Australians ever been risk takers economically?

Mr SAINSBURY - Our society has basic freedoms. It is a society that wants people to take risks because we know that when those risks are taken and the profits made, then and only then can we afford properly to look after as they properly deserve the disadvantaged people in our community and in other countries. If people think that they can run down an economy, that they can take away incentive, and still hope to carry out the programs that the Labor Party advocates, they need to look at what happens in the socialist countries which have tried to do those things. Just have a look at Sweden.

Mr Barry Jones (LALOR, VICTORIA) - What about Sweden?

Mr SAINSBURY - Just have a look at it and see the way the Swedish economy is travelling at the present time.

Mr Barry Jones (LALOR, VICTORIA) - Have a look at the per capita income in Sweden.

Mr SAINSBURY - Just have a look at how much tax the average taxpayer pays in Sweden, and at the productivity of that country at the present time. Another tax the Labor Party is offering us is a capital gains tax- another way in which it can get at anybody with enterprise. I do not have a great deal of time to talk about these things, but let me say that the Australian people need to remember the promises of the Labor Party. Not only do the promises contain the goodies about which the Leader of the Opposition spoke the other night, they also contain these heavy imposts on the people of enterprise in this country. When asking what the Opposition dennes as a person of enterprise, perhaps one can get a clue from its family income supplement. It is talking about a family income supplement that is very difficult to understand. It is very difficult to see how on earth the Opposition could have devised a scheme that will be so selective. Just supposing that it brought in that scheme, it is talking about a $14,000 family income as a cut-off point. If that is to be the cut-off point, the Opposition should understand that that is barely above average weekly earnings. I take it that the Labor Party will define something over $14,000 as an income that will be beaten very hard for taxation.

In my view, this is a Budget that can fairly be described as good. I said the other night that it is not a difficult time to have goodies handed around, and I am proud to be a member of a government that is prepared to be responsible just before an election. I believe that the Australian people are looking for that. The Labor Party, as the Leader of the Opposition has shown, would run a very heavy deficit through many promises which were catalogued in the newspapers yesterday. That deficit, of course, would bring us back to the old problems of which we know so much - the problem of high deficit crowding out productive investment, the problem of high deficits putting pressure on interest rates, the problem of high deficits almost directly creating high inflation, and the psychological problem of very high deficits when people realise that it really means that the Opposition is trying to send the country broke.

The time for pump priming, the pump priming that is very much a part of any socialist policy in our society, is completely non-applicable at the present time. Even Keynes, the man who devised the idea, would say that 'this is an inappropriate time. Without going in to all the theory, there is a point where extra pump priming takes away more investment that it creates, where it takes away more jobs than it creates, where it has the effect of putting up interest rates more than it reduces them, and where it ultimately destroys more freedom than it encourages. It would take a longer debate than this to talk about the fallacy of the pump priming principle at the present time. I suppose that what we should do is merely point out that the present policies of the Government, which are looking for balanced budgets, lower government expenditure and lower taxation, are the policies that are producing the jobs. As the Budget Papers show, those jobs have appeared in the measure of over 200,000 in the past 12 months.

The Labor Party still goes on. It still wants to have more government, bigger government. It just follows the socialist principles. I have looked through some of the things that it has talked about, some of the things that will interfere absolutely with our freedom, and I will catalogue just some that I have underlined from a list of firm commitments leading up to, firstly, this Budget, and secondly, the coming election. The Labor Party will have a department of economic affairs, which really means economic interference. It will have a national trading corporation. It will bring back the good old Australian housing corporation. I have been involved in the construction industry and I can tell the Opposition what the builders think of that. A Labor government will have a textile and clothing authority, a motor vehicle authority, the infamous Australian hydrocarbon corporation, a national fuel and energy commission, an independent authority to regulate the oil industry, and a national research, development and innovation corporation - I suppose it will go on the Inventors on Wednesday and Thursday nights. It will have a single buying agency for overseas film and television material. I suppose that means that everything that we and our children want to watch on television will be censored through the Labor Party's single buying agency for overseas film and television material. I do not suppose anybody will get an import licence unless he buys through Labor's little agency.

Labor will have an independent overseas and Australian wire news service. What will that do to the news that gets in and out of this country? I suppose it will be very selective, like the news media tentacles of the Wran Government in Sydney. We will have a unit to monitor financial arrangements and transactions of vertically integrated mineral industries. I do not know what that means, but it will cost a lot of money. We will have a government agency to co-ordinate and facilitate the sale of Australian primary products. I suppose that means the farmers - dairy farmers, wool growers, beef growers, and perhaps the fishermen, in my electorate - must all have their sales co-ordinated by some government agency. We would have an interstate commission. I admit that the interstate commission was mentioned in the Liberal Party constitution; however, under the terms of Labor Government radioed to us, one wonders what freedoms would be left in this country.

This Budget fulfils the criteria of a good Budget. It is responsible to the productive elements of our society and it is responsible to the relatively disadvantaged people. It means that just for a change we will manage within our means. Certainly, under our sort of government, under some sort of free capitalist government, we will have the scope to do very much better in this country in the 1980s than we would under the alternative which I know that most Australians, if they sat down and thought about it, would abhor.

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Armitage)Order!The honourable member's time has expired.

Suspension of Standing Orders

Motion (by Mr Hunt) - by leave- agreed to:

That so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable the Deputy Leader of the Opposition and the Right Honourable the Prime Minister each speaking on the Budget for a period not exceeding 30 minutes.

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