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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3232

Mr HOWARD(10.20) —We have just witnessed from the honourable member for Melbourne (Mr Hand) the latest example of the panic of the Australian Labor Party about the electoral prospects of Mr Neville Wran, the National President of the Party and the Premier of New South Wales. The honourable member for Melbourne, in an entirely innocuous, ineffective and desperate manner, has smeared under the privilege of this House a man who in a period of only six months has taken the fortunes of the Liberal-National Party Opposition in New South Wales to a situation where, come the next election in New South Wales, Mr Wran will be very seriously challenged as the Premier of that State. It is widely rumored in political circles in Sydney--

Mr Hand —Mr Speaker, I raise a point of order. I ask the Deputy Leader of the Opposition: Does he agree with the asset stripping that took place from that company?

Mr SPEAKER —Order! There is no point of order.

Mr HOWARD —It is widely rumoured in political circles in Sydney that immediately after the by-elections held in New South Wales in September, which recorded a swing of between 10 and 15 per cent in three rock safe Labor seats in the metropolitan area of Sydney, a private survey was carried out by the New South Wales division of the Australian Labor Party. The results of that survey were so bad that for the first time in about five years the New South Wales branch of the Labor Party refused to make them available on a selective basis to the Press as had always been its habit. The fact is that the electoral prospects of Mr Wran are now in very serious decline. He is put to the desperate tactic of trying publicly to bully men like Jack Ferguson and Mr Day. The more the back bench-and indeed the front bench-of the Labor Party in this Parliament attack the integrity and the ability of such people, the more we will be persuaded that we are on a winner with Greiner in New South Wales. Honourable members opposite bay and complain. If they have any complaints they can lay them before the Commissioner of Taxation. If they want to adopt the Dawkins tactic that was so totally discredited in this Parliament only a couple of months ago regarding the Leader of the New South Wales Opposition, they are very welcome to do it.

Everybody knows that when it comes to smearing people under the cover of parliamentary privilege, there is no greater expert in this country, no person more worthy of condemnation, than the Federal President of the Australian Labor Party, the Premier of New South Wales. The Australian Labor Party attempts in this chamber to cover up for the declining fortunes of the Wran Government in New South Wales, the absolute chaos of the prison system and the total irresponsibility of its financial management, the concern about education, the concern about public health, the absolute decay in public confidence in the Administration in New South Wales and the general belief that the Wran Government is on the skids. As far as I am concerned the more those matters are raised in this Parliament the happier we on this side will be. Any reading of Australian political history over the last 10 years will tell us one very interesting thing: Out of the ruins of the Labor Party's Federal defeat in 1975 it began on the road back by winning power in New South Wales in 1976. We will start on the road back by winning power in New South Wales in 1984.