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Senator the Hon Robert Hill
Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister for the Environment
21 October 1996
Government Senate Leader Robert Hill says the Labor Party and the Democrats have gone into a state of denial following the Lindsay by- election.
Senator Hill says Opposition Leader Kim Beazley and the Democrats are still refusing to listen to the will of the people.
"The Government has a number of major reforms before the Senate. These are the reforms we promised during the campaign.
"We have a strategy to get those bills through what can normally be a difficult Senate process. We have arranged meetings with the other parties and independents in the Senate to ensure that our program is managed effectively.
"What the people of Lindsay have done is to tell us they want us to get on with the job. They are also telling the ALP, the Democrats and the Greens to give us a fair go. "
Senator Hill says Mr Beazley's refusal to accept the will of the people from what is traditionally a Labor seat reflects growing uncertainty about his leadership ability.
"Labor was thrown out because they refused to listen. Kim Beazley obviously hasn't learnt that lesson. Labor campaigned strongly on our industrial relations reforms and our Telstra part sale plan. They also ran an extensive scare campaign on our Budget package.
"Mr Beazley personally campaigned in the electorate.
"The people rejected him and his discredited party and in doing so strongly endorsed the Howard Government.
"While the Democrats may claim they don't usually campaign or poll well in by-elections, they cannot ignore the enormous effort that Labor put in and the extent of the people's rejection of that campaign.
"The people of Lindsay have had 8 months to think about industrial relations and the part sale of Telstra. They have had two months to have a good look at our budget.
"Their message to Labor and the minor parties is clear - give the Government a fair go.
"Mr Beazley's refusal to listen to the message from what was once Labor heartland confirms that his party faces a long period in the wilderness."