Fightback! (policy)

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For other uses, see Fightback.

Fightback! was an economic policy package, 650 pages long, proposed by then Liberal Party of Australia leader John Hewson.

Key elements[edit]

The key elements of Fightback! were:

  • Radical changes to industrial relations, including the abolition of awards and the elimination of automatic entitlements to unemployment benefits after nine months on the dole;[1]
  • Radical changes to Medicare, including "abolition of bulk-billing except for veterans, war widows, pensioners, health card holders and the disabled" and "provision of gap insurance for medical bills".[2]
  • The introduction of a goods and services tax (GST) at a 15% rate;
  • A $13 billion personal income tax cut, directed largely at the middle and upper-middle income earners;
  • A $10 billion cut in government expenditure partially offset by increasing other areas, including $3.6 billion in selected government programs on social welfare;
  • The abolition of State payroll taxes and substantial cuts in petrol excise duty and proposed schemes for savings;
  • The sale of a number of government-owned businesses.[3]

After a negative reception to the Fightback policies, Dr Hewson reconsidered Fightback! and relaunched it in December 1992. The major changes were to remove the goods and services tax on food and child care through zero rating and provision for a Rebuild Australia fund for new public works. Changes to Medicare, the $10 billion cut in government expenditure and Jobsback package of labour market reforms remained unchanged.[3]

Following the Liberal Party's loss at the 1993 federal election, in April 1994 Dr Hewson declared the Fightback! policy to be 'Dead and Buried'.[3] In May 1994 Alexander Downer replaced Hewson as Leader of the Liberal Party.

Some of the proposals were adopted in some form over the period of the Keating and Howard Governments most prominently the introduction of the GST by the latter government.

See also[edit]


External links[edit]