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Fuel back-down follows rural revolt.

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Fuel Back-Down Follows Rural Revolt Gavan O'Connor - Shadow Minister for Agriculture

Media Statement - 1 March 2001

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John Howard's petrol price back-flip follows months of intense pressure from the NFF, motoring organisations and the Labor Party, but will leave farmers and others in rural Australia very cynical about its timing according to Shadow Agriculture Minister Gavan O'Connor.

"John Howard and John Anderson completely ignored calls by farmers and their representatives to do something about crippling fuel costs until voters in rural Queensland and Western Australia delivered their message loudly and clearly at the ballot box," Mr. O'Connor said.

"All of a sudden, in the wake of these election results, the Howard Government is trying to convince farmers that it no longer takes rural Australia for granted and that it will break the habit of the past five years and will now start listening.

"Until they received the electoral wake up call Mr. Howard and Mr. Anderson arrogantly believed that they could continue to break the promises they had made on fuel tax and get away with it.

"It shouldn't have taken the electoral equivalent of a brick between the ears for Mr. Howard to realise that farmers have had enough of his 'non-core promises' and would not continue to support political representatives who don't listen.

"Farmers know that a leopard doesn't change its spots and John Howard and John Anderson have not been suddenly transformed into politicians who will continue to listen to the concerns of rural Australia.

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.