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Government in panic mode can't agree on growth

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Senator Jim Short Deputy Leader o f the Opposition in the Senate Shadow Minister for Finance & Assisting the Leader on Commonwealth/State Relations

SMF 126/92


Further evidence emerged today that the Keating Labor Government is in panic mode and riddled with contradictions over its

inability to address the economic crisis confronting Australia.

The Leader of the Government in the Senate, Senator Button, admitted during Question Time that economic growth is unlikely to reach 4% in the next two quarters.

Senator Button said: "Anybody who is realistic about it would recognise that."

One person who apparently isn't being realistic is the Prime Minister, who has claimed repeatedly this year that 4% growth is achievable.

Keating said on the Seven Network on February 27: "If we can't do four [per cent growth] we should pack it in — me, the

bureaucracy, the Parliament, the lot of us."

Unfortunately for Keating, his disgraced former Minister, Senator Richardson, doesn't agree.

On the Ten Network's Meet the Press last night, Richardson said: "Well, anyone who made a prediction of 4% growth in the immediate future would, I think, be joking."

But Keating said in a speech to BCA Alcatel as recently as last Thursday: "Growth of around 4% or so will bring unemployment down. It is also quite achievable."

During the year Keating has repeatedly used the 4% growth

argument in Parliament and to the media.

With the current ABS trend line indicating no more than 2% growth this financial year, the Prime Minister is sounding less and less credible -- including, it seems, to his own Ministry.

He should take his own advice -- and pack it in.

Canberra 14 December 1992 Contact: Rod Woolley (06)277 3119 (w), (06)288 9355 (h)