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Thursday, 26 February 1987
Page: 802

Mr SINCLAIR —I ask the Prime Minister: Do the conclusions of the so-called background briefing paper tabled by Senator Ryan reflect the views not only of Dr Hawkins but, more importantly, the Indicative Planning Council for the Housing Industry, the Government's chief advisory body in the housing industry which includes senior officials from the Treasury and the Reserve Bank of Australia? As the most recent meeting of the forecasting committee of the Indicative Planning Council was held on 13 February, some time after the latest economic forecasts were prepared by the Government's joint economic forecasting group, do the views of Dr Hawkins's so-called background briefing paper reflect the attitudes of not only Dr Hawkins but also those in the Treasury and the Reserve Bank on interest rate trends prior to the announcement on Tuesday by the Treasurer of the Government's intention to bring in a mini-Budget on 14 May?

Mr HAWKE —The views expressed by Dr Hawkins do not reflect the views of our forecasting departments because, in large part, the views which I and the Treasurer have expressed are, in turn, a reflection of the indications that have been given to us by the parties which are part of the forecasting apparatus of the Government. Therefore, I can quite categorically say that the opinions expressed by the Treasurer and me in this place and outside it have been in tune with that information which has been provided to us by those bodies. As I have said in answer to an earlier question, the views that would have been held in those quarters would have been strengthened by the firm decision of the Government to bring down the May statement.

As to the first part of the question by the right honourable gentleman, I understand that to some extent the views expressed by Dr Hawkins may reflect some of the attitudes of the Indicative Planning Council. But I understand that the views of that body will be exposed in the near future. Any views which that body formed were-by definition of the date used by the right honourable gentleman-clearly expressed and formed prior to the Government's announcement of its decision to make its May statement. It is not irrelevant, if one is talking about reactions to that announcement by the Government, to note-as I hope the right honourable gentleman will have noted-that the market reaction to the Government's announcement has been favourable in that the exchange rate has firmed and there has been a marginal decline in relevant interest rates.