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ANDREW PEACOCi&t Leader of the Opposition x l 3XY BROADCAST - SUNDAY 18 AUGUST 1985 (EMBARGO : 18/8/85)

Budget week is with us again. In slightly less than 48 hours, the Federal Treasurer, Mr Keating, will bring down his third Labor budget. Normally, the present time - the period immediately before any budget - would be a period of community tension, a period of some anticipation and excitement, a period of, perhaps, some trepidation, as Australians await the economic decisions of Government, that will determine a large slice of their life and livelihood in

the year ahead, and beyond.

But not this year. In the eight and a half months since the last Federal election - yes, it is only eight and a half months - Australians have become all too familiar with the hallmarks of the Labor Government:

- a lack of decision-making and lack of direction, from their Prime Minister,

- indecision and uncertainty on just about every major issue,.

- weakness and backsliding,

- and an alarming willingness to give in to Trade Union officials and Labor Party factions when the going gets too tough.

Added to those has to be the realisation by so many Australians now, that the Hawke Labor Government is the biggest spending, highest taxing, and biggest borrowing Government in Australia's history. It is little wonder,

therefore, that Australians are looking to this week's ยท budget and expecting only more of the same, because they know that is what they are going to get, higher taxes, more spending, and more Government borrowing, to cover a still huge budget deficit.

Let's examine the taxation issue first. Last week, all Australians witnessed with dismay the biggest backdown by an Australian Government in recent years, an Australian Treasurer, aided and abetted by his weak and vacillating Prime Minister, throwing any real prospect of real tax

reform out the window. After eight and half months of planning and agonising over so-called taxation reform Mr Keating picked up his bat and ball and went home. Tax reform of any meaningful sort was cast aside as the Government, the Prime Minister and the Treasurer, caved in

to ACTU opposition and Left Wing pressure from within their own party.

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But it did not end there. All the so-called "nasties" of the Government's approach to tax reform remained - the new capital gains tax, the new death duties and gift duties and the new tax on fringe benefits to be forced on

employers. In other words, all the new taxes wanted by the ACTU and the ALP Left Wing remain to be enacted by the Government.

But that is not all of it. Mr Keating has already announced an end to "negative gearing" and a severe reduction in the "concessional rebate", and what we are left with is more and higher taxes for all Australians perhaps not in this week's budget, but not too far down the track.

Now, let us examine spending. Despite the Prime Minister's high sounding rhetoric about the need for all Australians to practise restraint, this budget will again mark the Labor Government as the biggest spending Government in Australia's history. The fact is that this Government has done little

to cut back its own extravagance.

And apart from the inevitability of higher taxes, that leads to large deficits and huge borrowing, further pushing Australia and all Australians into debt. Few people seem to realise it, but even if Mr Hawke and Mr Keating get this year's budget deficit down to $5 billion, it will still be

the third biggest budget deficit, in money terms, in Australian history. And when have those three record budget deficits occurred? In the last three budgets, brought down by this Labor Government.

It is little wonder then that Australians' confidence in the Labor Government has collapsed and the blame has to be placed clearly at the Prime Minister's door. Mr Hawke has shown weakness and vacillation, and caved in to the ACTU and

the Left Wing and other factions of his own party at every decision. Whether it is MX missiles or tax, the Prime Minister's weakness has shown through.

Last week, in a desperate effort to keep his restless Ministers in line, he said that any Minister who spoke out or leaked would be sacked. Already that pathetic cry from Mr Hawke is being treated with contempt. And now in a last desperate attempt to restore his waning credibility, he is on television tonight to talk about his Government's new

youth policy.

Now, no-one can underestimate the importance of policies directed towards the youth of our nation. The whole future is ultimately in their hands. But one has to guestion the Prime Minister's motives in seeking political advantage of

the launch of such a policy, just to try and boost his own political fortunes, when he fails to show political strength in any other direction.