big government spending promised by howard

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    Howard pledges $6b in bid for 4th term
    By Stephanie Kennedy and Richard Davis

    Prime Minister John Howard has promised to spend an extra $6 billion on health, education, families, the aged and small business if the Coalition is re-elected.

    In Brisbane today Mr Howard made his pitch to voters at the official campaign launch of the Liberal and National parties.

    Mr Howard has launched a carefully targeted spending spree in a bid to persuade middle Australia to stick with the Coalition.

    There is $2.2 billion for families including a 30 per cent rebate on childcare services, $1 billion for schools to build new libraries and to upgrade classrooms, $1.3 billion to help small business, $400 million to encourage GPs to offer after-hour services and $200 million for dementia sufferers.

    Mr Howard told the party faithful Australia faces a simple choice on October 9.

    "A choice between a Coalition which has demonstrated that capacity to deliver security to the nation and the alternative is a Labor Party which is still locked in its industrial relation past," he said.

    Mr Howard returned to his interest rate theme, reminding voters about the high rates under Labor and insisting there is no economic credential for office more critical than a capacity to keep interest rates low.


    Labor leader Mark Latham has accused the Coalition of a reckless spending spree in a last ditch attempt to buy votes.

    Mr Latham says today's promises show it is the Government who will drive up interest rates.

    "Just listen to Peter Costello, he said if you run down the surplus in a reckless way, if you go on a spending spree without making any savings and I think Mr Howard spoke for an hour today and didn't identify any savings to fund these plans, then according to his own Treasurer then you put upwards pressure on interest rates if you do those things," Mr Latham said.

    "The Government here is trying to defy economic gravity.

    "The truth is an unfunded spending spree of this size puts upwards pressure on rates."

    Dave R.
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