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Thursday, 20 October 1983
Page: 2011

Mr HOWARD —My question is addressed to the Prime Minister. Is it a fact that since the August Budget, only a matter of weeks ago, decisions taken by the Government have reduced prospective revenue collections in 1983-84 by approximately $80m-namely, one-third more than the amount involved in the blocking of legislation for this year by the Senate last night?

Government members interjecting-

Mr HOWARD —Wait for it. Will this revenue shortfall have an adverse effect on the Government's Budget strategy, interest rates or the ordinary honest taxpayer of the Australian community? If so, in what way? Finally, can the honourable gentleman tell us how many jobs it would have been possible for the Government to provide under the community employment program if the approximately $80m of revenue had not been given up? Likewise, what additional payments to the States would the additional revenue collections have facilitated?

Mr HAWKE —Mr Speaker--

Opposition members interjecting-

Mr SPEAKER —Order! The House will come to order. I had occasion yesterday to remind the House that if it behaves in this way and does not allow answers to be made it is only using up Question Time.

Mr HAWKE —I am indeed indebted to the Deputy Leader of the Opposition for his question. Since the Government came to office on 11 March it has taken a series of decisions. The two most important dates have been, of course, 19 May and 23 August, the day the Budget was delivered by my colleague the Treasurer. All of those decisions have been taken with a view to getting the Australian economy out of the mess into which it was plunged by the deliberate decisions of our predecessors. Of course, the chief architect of those decisions was the asker of the question. Because of the innate modesty which characterises this Government, its Prime Minister and all its members, I am reluctant simply to make assertions about the effectiveness of what we have done. The statistics--

Government members interjecting-

Mr SPEAKER —Order! I remind honourable members on my right that the Prime Minister needs no encouragement.

Mr HAWKE —Mr Speaker, I am indeed tempted to explain, on all the available statistics, the great success of the combination of all the decisions we have taken. But I content myself, in the interests of brevity, by not quoting myself or any of my Ministers as to the effectiveness of what we have done; rather, I draw the attention of the Deputy Leader of the Opposition-because he never got an endorsement like this and he was never likely to with the policies he pursued -and of all members of the House to the most recent issue of the Economist, not a well-known radical left wing journal. I refer to page 87 of the 8 to 14 October issue of the Economist and to an advertisement by that well-known radical institution and supporter of Labor governments, Barclays Bank. What does it have to say about the decisions of this Government? Let me read very briefly two paragraphs from the advertisement. It states:

The latest economic indicators point to an early recovery. Consumer confidence is reviving, agriculture recovering, dwelling approvals are rising, exports are expanding. The stock market is firm.

I ask particularly the Deputy Leader of the Opposition to note this sentence in the Barclays advertisement in the Economist. He should listen to it very carefully. It says:

The Labor Government's pragmatic approach to the country's economic problems has helped restore confidence amongst investors, both at home and abroad.

Barclays Bank in the Economist has said that as a result of the combination of decisions taken by this Government we have started to turn the economic fortunes of this country away from the abysmal mess for which honourable members opposite were responsible when they were in office.