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Transcript of doorstop interview: Hyatt Regency Hotel: 20 August 1993: Budget wine industry



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Leader o f the Opposition

20 August 1993 TRANS\Adel:flro

Transcript of Doorstop interview Hyatt Regency Hotel Friday, 20 August 1993

E & OE - PROOF COPY ONLY

SUBJECTS: Budget. Wine industry.

Jrnlst:

... traditional for the Opposition Leader, in his Budget Reply speech, to come up with alternatives as well as attacking the Budget, why didn't you do it this time?

Hetson:

I did. I gave a very clear sense of direction as to where we 'd take Australia. We are on the record for years as to the

direction we'd go. The issue today is holding this Government accountable for the lies they told before, during and after the election.

Jrnlst:

What are the alternatives to these tax cuts. These tax

increases?

Hewson:

That is for the Government to do. I think they can go back and redo the whole Budget as far as T'm concerned.

Jrnlst:

If you reject these tax increases, won't that lead to a blow-out in the deficit?

Hewson:

That is for them to handle. They were the one's that said they could deliver tax cuts without other tax increases, new taxes, increases in the tax burden. I suggest that they go back and have another go.

Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Phone 277 4022

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH

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Page 2

Jrnlst:

Do you believe that Mr Dawkins can get his Budget through intact, as he says he can?

Hewson:

I think he started posturing today. I notice he says he is not interested in negotiating. I find that a bit much. He has a

long history of negotiating with minority parties. I hope the Democrats and the Independents stand firm. And part of what they stand for is ’keeping the bastards honest’ and I think there is a good opportunity to do precisely that. Of course, these are taxes for which the Government has no mandate. They are taxes that are against the national interest. And they are taxes that are regressive and strike really at the low income earners, the poor in Australia. I d o n ’t think anyone should support them.

Jrnlst:

Is the Opposition ready for an election?

Hewson:

I see Mr Dawkins' threatened that today. I think it is a threat. But if ho wants an election - roll-on election. We are ready to go.

Jrnlst:

How did you get on with the winemakers here?

Hewson:

Well very well in terms of the quality of the discussion. But as you can understand they feel they have been particularly singled out and you might say that is true - they have been

particularly singled out. And South Australia, being a wine- based State, to a large extent, they have been singled out.

It shows you the mentality of the Labor Government. Just when an industry is really getting to make its mark in the world they get slugged by government. I mean this Government hits winners. It is crazy. It is an indefensible approach to industry policy,

tax policy, anything else.

It is about time, in Australia, we looked after those that can perform and can make their mark on the world. And the wine

industry is one of the great success stories of Australia.

Jrnlst:

Is there anything you can do for them?

Page 3

Hewson:

Well I think we are doing what we can. We are certainly going to oppose the legislation, or the wine tax to be specific, in both Houses of Parliament - as many times as they bring it in. And 1 think there is a mood out there « the anger and the

frustration of the Australian people, who feel totally betrayed and totally cheated by Keating and Dawkins over this Budget, is growing.

Normally a day or so after a budget the mood dies, the anger

starts to wash away. It is multiplying almost every day. The Government has a massive problem. There is massive public opinion against what they have done because they lied and because they cheated. As well as, of course, the particular impact of some of the decisions.

Jrnlst:

Mr Dawkins says that you stand for endless deficits, higher personal taxation and Parliamentary chaos. So, is that wrong?

Hewson:

It sounds like a desperate man to me.

Jrnlst:

Are you still in favour of expending cut-backs like you ...

Hewson:

We don't think the Government made any attempt to cut expenditure in this Budget. I mean, real expenditure goes up by 4 per cent in this Budget and it goes up by about 6.5 per cent over the four

years that they have got in this Budget document.

There is a lot of fat in the public sector that they haven't

tried to cut out and I think that is why a lot of people on the

backbench of the ALP are very concerned about the optometry decision, for example. Because for less than $50 million this year, they really hit a particular group of people to leg and there is going to be a*lot of low income families with kids who want to have their kids' eyes tested, they can't understand why

that is hit for $50 million in a Budget that is $115 billion - where there is plenty of fat, plenty of inefficiency - it is a way the Labor Party these days acts.

They don't cut their own spending, and they don't cut their own fat, they just cut the living standards of average Australians.

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