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Perth, W.A. : transcript of address at Liberal Party's West Australian Campaign Launch.

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28 January 2001



Well Colin you certainly know how to get to a man’s heart with an introduction like that. But can I say how delightful it is to be back here in Perth and a particular privilege to speak in support of the re-election of Richard Court as Premier of Western Australia.

Politics is not just about having the title or the car or the office. Politics is very much about making a change and making a difference. And if ever a man inherited an economic and political mess Richard Court inherited it from the Lawrence Labor Government back all those years ago.

And in the time that he’s been Premier he has transformed the economy of the state. It is true that national government gives national economic direction. But the quality of economic management at a state level can have an enormous impact on how individual states perform. It is therefore to me no surprise that Western Australia should have the lowest unemployment rate and the best performing small business sector of any of the Australian states.

And that is because the Court Government has seized the opportunities of a strong national economy and contributed to the building of our economy and contributed to the strength of the Western Australian economy.

The Court Government has been a reforming government. Along with the Coalition Government in Canberra since 1996 it has understood the importance of industrial relations reform. Of all the changes that a future Labor government here in Western Australia or a future Labor government in Canberra, of all the changes they would bring about that will do the most damage to the new more internationally competitive economy Australia now has, none would be more serious than their plans to wreck the industrial relations program of the last six or ten years.

Whatever Mr Gallop now says, in government a Gallop Labor government would go back to the discredited union dominating industrial relations policies of all Labor governments, just as a Beazley federal Labor government would do the same thing.

It has been my pleasure to work in partnership with Richard Court as the Premier of your state since I became Prime Minister in March of 1996. We have worked together cooperatively in the national interest. But whenever the occasion has demanded it Richard has stood up and fought for the legitimate interests of Western Australia.

He has never been reluctant to say I want something done for the benefit of Western Australia and he’s never been reluctant to argue with me or the Premiers of the other states. In other

words he’s done his job by the people to whom he is accountable. And that is what Premiers should do in a federal system such as Australia.

Richard played a major role in giving support to our far sighted tax reform plan. For the first time in fifty years the states of Australia have within their grasp a growth tax. The GST revenue is flowing in greater measure each year to the states, will give them more resources to provide more services. And just remember whenever Mr Gallop or Mr Beazley promise to spend more you’ve got to remember that both of them opposed the taxation reform that have put the finances of Western Australia in the years ahead on a much sounder footing.

It was Richard Court who stood up for the interests of the mining and pastoral industries of Western Australia in working with me to secure improvements to the native title legislation. And the lingering difficulties with that legislation are one hundred percent the fault of Labor voting in Western Australia and in Canberra who frustrated our attempts, the attempts of Richard Court and myself to get rid of all the difficulties and complexities of the Keating legislation.

Ladies and gentlemen don’t underestimate the task ahead. It is always hard winning a third term and our political opponents here in Western Australia and elsewhere will try to present themselves as some kind of moderate continuum of the strong economic management that has been provided here in Western Australia under Richard Court.

But remember Labor’s record in economic management in government. Remember the debt left to Western Australia by Carmen Lawrence and Peter Downing and Brian Burke. Doubtless you remember the debt left to the Commonwealth of Australia by Paul Keating and Kim Beazley.

It is an important choice that Western Australians will make on the 10th of February. It is a choice between continuing the growth and the prosperity and the stability and the productivity of Western Australia under Richard Court or taking a huge risk, a huge gamble in electing a Labor Government.

I have hope, I have confidence in the people of Western Australia who’ll respond to the strong leadership, leadership and integrity that Richard and Hendy Cowan and their team have provided over the time they have been in Government.

Ladies and gentlemen I will do everything I can to secure the re-election of a Court Government. Richard has my friendship, my confidence and my strong support.

Ladies and gentlemen, will you welcome to this great campaign launch the Premier of Western Australia, Richard Court.


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