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Mick Young Taunts The Opposition Over The Election Date

Mick Young was Special Minister of State in the Hawke government in 1986.

Young was renowned for his witticisms. This is a very brief clip of a news report of his remarks in the House of Representatives on November 14, 1986, in response to a Dorothy Dix question from Ben Humphreys, regarding the timing of the next election.

Whilst an election could have been delayed until the end of 1987, or even early 1988, Hawke ended up calling a double dissolution for July 11, 1987. He capitalised on Coalition disunity, particularly the Joh for Canberra campaign of the Queensland Premier, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen.

The full text of Young’s response to the question from Humphreys is shown below.

  • Listen to Mick Young (1m)

Hansard transcript of a question to the Special Minister of State.

Mr HUMPHREYS —Has the Special Minister of State received advice from the Electoral Commissioner in relation to the last date on which a Federal election can be held?

Mr YOUNG —I was walking down the corridor last night and was confronted by the toe cutter, Senator Reg Withers, who was mumbling to himself and counting: ‘One, two, three’. I asked what had brought all his about. He said: ‘We are not quite sure when to jump. It will depend when the election is held’. As someone who takes a great deal of interest in reimposing stability in Australian politics I thought that I would try to untangle some of the faction fighting in the Liberal Party. The only other bit of information that the toe cutter gave me was that Fred Chaney has been sacked as campaign director.

I have been told by the Deputy Electoral Commissioner-if the honourable member for Kooyong has a pen he can take down these dates; if not, it is okay; I will send him a tape-that the first sitting of our current Parliament was on 21 February 1985. The expiry date of this Parliament is 21 February 1988. The last date for issue of writs, 10 days afterwards, is 2 March 1988. The latest date for close of nominations, 28 days after that, is 30 March 1988. The maximum period from the close of nominations to polling date is 30 days-giving a date of Friday 29 April 1988. So the latest polling day would be Saturday, 23 April 1988.

It seems to me, I say respectfully to the honourable member for Kooyong, that gives him plenty of time. There are a couple of hurdles that he must watch out for. Firstly, tax cuts are very popular. There are a couple of lots coming on 1 December and 1 July. Everybody’s pay packet will be a lot healthier in the middle of next year. The Prime Minister has not confided in me but I know that he wants to stay Prime Minister. These things will weigh heavily on his mind. The other thing we know from our research and the research of those opposite is that overwhelmingly the Australian people support the Australia Card concept. The honourable member has the ID card, tax cuts, and the economy turning around as predicted by the Treasurer. A great deal of stability has returned. We are knocking out all the rorts in the tax system and the Australian people are seeing more clearly now the great stability given them by government from this side of the House. The people really want the Opposition to clean up its affairs so that we have a proper parliament.

The only other thing I heard last night-and I ask the honourable member for Kooyong to reconsider this because it would be of great concern to General Moerdani-is that he will make the honourable member for Denison the shadow Minister for Defence. I ask him to reconsider that, not only for his sake but for this great country of ours.

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Malcolm Farnsworth
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