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Thursday, 28 August 1980
Page: 926


Mr YOUNG (Port Adelaide) - The Prime Minister (Mr Malcolm Fraser) is the fourth speaker from the Government side to speak in this year's Budget debate; he is also the fourth Government speaker to ignore the Budget. No member from the Government side seems very intent on giving support to the Budget which was brought down by the Treasurer (Mr Howard) last Tuesday week. Interestingly enough, the first speaker the Government put up after the Treasurer - and so we can take it for granted that that man is the second most important Government spokesman on economic matters - was the right honourable member for New England (Mr Sinclair). Everyone in Australia knows the right honourable member for New England. I take it that he is now the Government's second most important spokesman on economic matters. The third person to speak was the Minister for Finance (Mr Eric Robinson). He never mentioned the word 'Budget'. They seemed to be intent on talking about Australian Labor Party policies. They are not concerned about the money which the Labor Party intends to spend on some of these programs. What they object to are the programs themselves.

This Government is opposed to debate, concern or consideration in respect of unemployment, health or education. Members of the Government do not want to discuss these matters. All they want to discuss is what they think they can do about inflation. This is the third election at which this Government has cried 'wolf. The secret of the Government and the Prime Minister is that five years ago in 1975, 1977 and again in 1980 - they use the same catchcry: 'Leave us in office; we will get inflation down; we will reduce the level of unemployment; we will get interest rates down; everything will be rosy in the garden in Australia as long as you leave the LiberalNational Country Party Government in'.

The Government having failed Australia and the Australian people for five years, I will tell the House what the Government intends to do between 1980 and 1983. It intends to sell Australia down the drain to any overseas bidder which wants to take away our resources. That will be the Government's economic answer between 1980 and 1983. The debate on this Budget should not be about what happened in the early 1970s and the late 1960s. The debate should be about the performance of this Government between 1975 and 1980 and the future of Australia between 1 980 and 1 953 and who can do that best.

The Prime Minister talked about people not being able to understand balance sheets. Let me say this: The families of many Ministers seem to be able to do balance sheets pretty well. Whilst some of them are not bom with silver spoons in their mouths, they are born with $400,000 in their bankbooks. If one had the choice one would take the $400,000. We know honourable members opposite can read balance sheets because a number of them have been in and out of the courts. That is the sort of government that will go to the polls in a few weeks time. We are discussing and debating this Budget at a time when we know that in a few short weeks people are going to be asked to vote. They will base their decision on questions such as: Has this Government done the job it promised to do in the last five years? Is it capable and competent to carry out the task that is required for Australia between 1980 and 1983? Has it failed in what it promised to do in that five years? Is it time for the Australian people to change the government? These are the questions important to this debate.

This Government has shown its arrogance by bringing down a Budget demonstrating complete contempt for the problems of this country. The people were told in the Budget that there would be no reduction in unemployment, that there would be no reduction in the level of inflation and that there would be an increase in the price of petrol. Complete arrogance was portrayed not only by the Prime Minister but also by the other Ministers who have spoken in the debate. This is the most arrogantly framed Budget that has been brought into this Parliament since Federation. It is no wonder the Prime Minister, the Minister for Finance and the right honourable member for New England do not want to talk about the Budget. It is no wonder that they want to talk about the proposals of the Labor Party. They have to do this because there is nothing in the Budget that they can talk about. There is nothing that they can be proud of. They can point to nothing that they have achieved between 1975 and 1980.

The Prime Minister told us that the Democratic Party in the United States of America is opposed to the concepts that have been put forward by the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Hayden). Have a look at this example of someone who is opposed to the Labor Party ideals on job creation. Jimmie Carter goes to the people of the United States in a few weeks on the platform of jobs. He would enact a $12 billion anti-recession jobs program to provide at least' 800,000 additional jobs. The Democratic Party Of the United States is not opposed to job creation. It is not opposed to spending federal moneys to create jobs. But the Australian Prime Minister says that the Labor Party would be the only party to advocate such a scheme in Australia. Let me, on behalf of the Labor Party, tell the House that we would much prefer spending taxpayers' money to put the kids of Australia into jobs than for those kids to be on drugs and sleeping in the gutters of Australia. This is what has happened as a result of the policies of the Fraser Government over the past five years.

Honourable members opposite must be proud of a policy which has created 40,000 homeless Australian kids. We do not hear the Prime Minister talking about that. We do not hear about the number of unemployed people who are committing suicide in this country. The Prime Minister does not talk about that. He will be on his Boeing 707 aircraft on Sunday with his four or five dozen bottles of Glenfiddich whisky, sucking it down as if there are no problems in this country. All the time he talks about what he is going to do in the future. Well, the people of Australia have had enough about what this Prime Minister will do about the future. We have had five years of his medicine. His cry of 'wolf in 1975 and 1977 will not work in 1980. The problems deserve a different remedy. The remedy that we are putting forward is the remedy that will win the support of the majority of people in Australia. They are the people who cannot get themselves or their kids into hospital; they are the people who are not able to live on the income that they are bringing home every week.

As Bill Hayden has pointed out on numerous occasions - and the figures are available to prove this- the average family is $ 1 6 a week worse off in 1980 than it was in 1975 when Malcolm Fraser became Prime Minister. The Budget does not tell us the full story of what will happen in 1 980-8 1 . We know that the price of petrol will go up. We know that the price will go up substantially. Every time the price of petrol goes up, living standards go down. That is what has happened to the average family in this community. The honourable member for Denison (Mr Hodgman) and the honourable member for Franklin (Mr Goodluck) should not leave the chamber because the people in their State - in Hobart, Launceston and Burnie - are being ripped off by these petrol taxes. They are paying a higher price in Tasmania than is being paid anywhere else. We never hear the honourable member for Franklin or the honourable member for Denison say they are worried about the working people of Tasmania.

They will jump up and down about the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation. What desperate phoneys they are. They do not stand up for the people.

Let us examine what has occurred in the last five years. We know that since this man became Prime Minister the cost of living has gone up by 55 percentage points; income tax has gone up by 89 percentage points. People are $16 a week worse off. We can relate the performance of this Government to what the Prime Minister has said over the years. The Australian people will be looking at the policies of the parties. But there is nothing in the Budget on which the people of Australia can base their vote.

It is now rumoured that the Prime Minister will have certain goodies in his election policy speech. But the big question is: Can we believe the Prime Minister? If he were going to cut taxes, break with world parity pricing on petrol, spend more on education and look after the Aboriginal people, his intentions would be contained in the Budget for 1980-81 . What is there in the Budget? There is nothing - absolutely nothing. Anyone who reads this document will find that there is no advantage this year over last year for any group of people. Almost every group of people affected by the Budget - and that is everybody in Australia - will be worse off in 1 980-8 1 than they were last year.

We are told that there will be goodies in the election policy speech of the Prime Minister. Let me tell honourable members that, if we put the 1 975 and 1977 election speeches of Mr Fraser to a lie detector test, the machine would break down. We have not perfected a lie detector yet which could possibly process those two policy speeches which have so many untruths and so many commitments in them. At the time the Prime Minister knew that he could not carry out or he had absolutely no intention of carrying out those commitments. Let us have a look at some of his promises in the short time available. I will run through them for the sake of the honourable member for Dundas (Mr Ruddock) who might like to pass them on to his constituents. The Prime Minister said: 'I can promise you honesty and integrity in government'. That is the first promise he made which we will look at. As I have said before in this Parliament this has got to be the most honest government we have ever had because we have never had a government in which more Ministers have been cleared by the courts than in this Government. Almost every Minister who has gone before a court has been cleared by the courts in spite of the fact that prima facie cases have been proved. It has been a very good government! We have missed Ministers from time to time as they had to take leave to go into the courts. But the Prime Minister has provided honesty in government!

In 1975 he said: 'We will maintain Medibank'. This Government had absolutely no intention of maintaining Medibank. The people know, through the moneys they are now paying into health insurance, what a rip-off has resulted because of the way in which the Government has altered the health insurance in this country. But there was a commitment to maintain Medibank. The Prime Minister said that his Government would maintain the Australian Assistance Plan. It is so long since the Government scrubbed the Plan that most people of Australia cannot even remember it. But the Government made a commitment to keep it and it broke that promise. These are all quotes from the Prime Minister. He said: We will support wage indexation'. This Government did not even support wage indexation at the first hearing in 1976. On seven of the nine occasions on which the Government has been to the courts it has said: 'Wage and salary earners of Australia should receive no wage increase at all'. This Government has done everything in its power to destroy wage indexation. The Prime Minister said: 'Under a Liberal-National Country Party government there will be jobs for all those who want to work'. Let me dwell on this point for a moment. The Prime Minister told the people of Australia in 1975 and again in 1977 that under his Government there would be jobs for all those who wanted to work. Let me remind the Australian people that since this Government came to power unemployment has increased at the rate of 100 people a day. The names of an additional 100 people a day have been added to the unemployment list. I will tell honourable members opposite something else which the Government has admitted in this Budget. For the first time it has admitted that it does not intend to do anything about unemployment. If the families of Australia have unemployed kids they will have to live with it because this Government has absolutely no intention of doing anything about it. The Prime Minister said: 'We will reduce the tax burden. We will put an end to Labor's tax rip-off'. For God's sake, that was the Prime Minister talking to us in 1975 and 1977. I do not know what strange inhibitions take over the Prime Minister at election time when he gets his speech writers together. His speeches must be written in Disneyland because he keeps telling us about all the things he will do.

Honourable members opposite can go outside and talk to any of the wage and salary earners in Australia and ask: 'Are you paying less tax as a proportion of your income in 1980 than you were in 1975?' If honourable members opposite think that people are paying less tax now than they were five years ago then their fathers should have bought them boxing gloves, because it is just not true. The people of Australia are paying significantly more tax now - income tax, petrol tax and health insurance tax - than they were previously. Those people who watched Nationwide on the Thursday evening after the Budget would have seen an interview with the family of a tradesman who works six days a week and earns a gross pay of $290 a week. After he meets his commitments he has $3 left. He cannot even take his kids to see their grandparents on the other side of Melbourne because he cannot afford the petrol. This is not the only family in Australia which is living under those circumstances. He happens to be one of the lucky people who have a job. This Government is destroying the Australian family because of the burden of taxation that exists in Australia at the moment. If the Government wanted to do something about the situation it is the Budget documents in which such action would have been set out.

I would not believe the Prime Minister. I hope all Australians join with me in this view between now and the election. I would not believe anything he says in his policy speech because he has said it all before. When the Prime Minister gave tax cuts in 1977 and he had the brilliance of his advertising agency and of the Liberal Party throughout Australia, we saw photographs of people with $5 notes in their hands saying: 'Vote for us, you will get all this money.' On I February the people of Australia got their tax cuts. Just a few months later on 1 7 August, not only did the Government, when the Budget was introduced, take the tax cuts back but also it took a little more. This Government brought in tax increases six months after it showed advertisements about the tax cuts that were to take place in Australia. Honourable members can see that this Prime Minister has promised a number of things that have not worked out.

I ask honourable members to listen to this quote of the Prime Minister. He said: 'There will be no international safaris by members of parliament. Australia does not need a tourist as a Prime Minister.' On Sunday he leaves on his twenty third trip. His trips have cost untold tens of millions of dollars. As the Sydney Sun newspaper asked tonight, why does the Prime Minister need a 707 aircraft with a staff of about 40 people to go and pick up a gold badge in Washington? Have the taxpayers got to pay $3,000 an hour just for the running of the plane for the Prime Minister to go to Washington to pick up a gold badge? He was not that generous with the Olympians. He is taking an entourage of people comprising Press secretaries, stenographers, advisers - those bootlickers - to Washington with him so that he can pick up his gold badge. Who do honourable members opposite reckon will pay for it? It will be the Australian taxpayers. Perhaps the Government will have to increase taxes again to meet the grand style of living that has been adopted by this Prime Minister who said that Australia would not have a tourist as Prime Minister. He spends more time overseas than he does here. In fact, I do not think he likes the place at all. I think he would much rather spend his time in Washington.

Of course the Prime Minister told us that spending on essential education, health and welfare programs would be protected against inflation. He should tell that to the teachers, the doctors and the nurses. Honourable members opposite need not take our word for what is happening in health and education. They should go and talk to the people who exercise their professions in those fields. They will tell honourable members opposite what is happening in education. The Government could save the teachers a lot of money because they are spending money on advertisements which ask political parties to commit themselves to putting back real value into the dollar in expenditure on education. If the Government explains to them what it has done for education they could stop their advertising campaign. But the fact is that the Government has cut spending on education.

The Prime Minister said: 'The real value of pensions will be preserved.'. The Prime Minister said what a terrible thing it would be for a political party like the Australian Labor Party to set as an objective that the pension would be restored to 25 per cent of average weekly earnings. The Australian Labor Party did that when in government. Honourable members should remember that that was an objective of the Australian Labor Party in 1 972 when it was elected. That was one of the reasons we were elected. 1 will tell honourable members opposite something else about pensions - something which the Prime Minister did not tell the pensioners in Australia in 1977. He did not tell them that he intended to cut the indexation of pensions from twice a year to once a year. He saved $26m by doing that in 1978. What did he do with that money? The honourable member for Franklin (Mr Goodluck) knows what he did with that money. He spent $40m buying two VIP aircraft. The pensioners paid for those aircraft. The aircraft the Prime Minister will leave in on Sunday for Washington to pick up his gold badge was paid for by the pensioners of

Australia. I hope that the pensioners do not believe what is contained in the policy speeches of the Prime Minister. The Australian Labor Party stands by its commitment. I have another quote from the Prime Minister. I am prepared to stay here during the dinner hour so that all his remarks can be recorded.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Hon. J. D. M. Dobie) - Order! The honourable member for Port Adelaide may be prepared to remain here but the Chair is not. I remind the honourable member--


Mr YOUNG - You do not look hungry. The Australian Labor Party stands by its commitment.


Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! I remind the honourable member that he has the Chair's indulgence to speak for five minutes during the dinner break. I would hope that he would respect the forms of the House because of that.


Mr YOUNG - Mr Fraserpromised to keep all his promises. I ask honourable members to listen to them. This is one of his own quotes. He said: 'I will keep all my promises'. He said: 'On my own visits overseas, commercial aircraft will be used as far as possible. The argument that Qantas cannot provide adequate security is a specious argument and false.'. This was said by the Prime Minister who spent 40 million bucks on a specious argument. He said: 'Unemployment will fall from February 1978 and keep falling'. Last Thursday 423,000 people were unemployed. Any dopes opposite who want to go and get the Commonwealth Employment Service figures, will see that 423,000 Australians are out of work.

Sitting suspended from 6.5 to 8 p.m.







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