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No surprises in another Labor backflip.

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Minister for Finance and Administration

Hon John Fahey MP




No surprises in another Labor backflip.


“The backflip of the Beattie Labor Government in announcing it will sell the Queensland Government’s share of Suncorp-Metway Ltd, should come as no great surprise to seasoned observers of ALP hypocrisy on asset sales,” the Federal Minister for Finance and Administration, John Fahey said today.


“The ALP is the deserved world record holder for the ‘say one thing, do the opposite’ event.


“When in Opposition, Peter Beattie railed against any Government sell-down of Suncorp-Metway and now ten weeks later as Premier, is doing precisely the thing he once condemned.


“Perhaps Peter Beattie has been inspired by the recent biography on Kim Beazley by Peter FitzSimons.


“He wrote, “It was something of an irony that Beazley was now in charge of selling Qantas, because as Minister for Aviation he had sworn that Labor would never do any such thing, and then as Minister for Transport and Communications he had begun the process of doing just that..” ‘Beazley’, by Peter FitzSimons, p 388”.


“You can almost see Kim Beazley slapping his hand against his forehead as he says, ‘Oh thaat airline we sold...'"


“Of course, that was not the only example of Beazley hypocrisy on asset sales,” said Mr Fahey.


“As the Minister for Finance, Kim Beazley presided over Labor Party legislation to sell Federal Airports Corporation airports, despite the inconvenience of the 1991 ALP Party Platform which said ‘Labor will ensure the Federal Airports Corporation remains in public ownership.’


“Who can forget the “iron-clad” guarantees from the Labor Party that they would not sell out of majority ownership of the Commonwealth Bank?


“What Peter Beattie has done is prove, yet again, that in Opposition the Labor Party will say anything and do anything to get elected to office and do whatever it pleases when in Government.


"The furtive asset sales policy of the ALP is driven entirely by the need to fund undisciplined spending.


“In contrast, the Howard Government has been open and honest in its belief that it has an obligation to taxpayers to manage scarce publicly-owned resources efficiently, including the sale of a government-owned business if it is demonstrably in the public interest.


By using the proceeds of asset sales substantially on the retirement of debt, the amount of money needed to pay the interest bill on debt is reduced, freeing up vital money for spending on things like health, education, welfare and the environment,” Mr Fahey said.


Contact details:

David McLachlan, John Fahey’s Office 0419 698 872


Sunday, 6 September 1998