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Thursday, 31 May 1984
Page: 2232

Senator HEARN —I address my question to the Minister representing the Treasurer. In January 1984 the Acting Treasurer, the Hon. J. S. Dawkins, announced a household expenditure survey by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, commencing on 9 January. I understand that about 7,500 urban and rural households throughout Australia are taking part in the survey. An objective in this in- depth survey is to provide up to date data for reviewing the weighting of the consumer price index, which is a fundamental element of wage determinations and pension adjustments and which is very important to the policy decisions of both Federal and State governments. I have had expressions of concern from a number of constituents-

The PRESIDENT —Order! Will the honourable senator ask her question? There is too much information in the question.

Senator HEARN —In view of the nature of this important survey, and the concern of constituents, I ask the Minister: Will he make a further statement of reassurance to members of the public as to the purpose of this survey?

Senator WALSH —I did see a minute on this a month or six weeks ago, and if I remember correctly, at that stage the final questions to be put in the survey had not been determined. I will ask the Treasurer whether that has been decided and ask him to supply Senator Hearn with a copy of it. Whilst I believe those surveys are used to reweight the CPI, they are used for a variety of other purposes as well. I will see what the latest information is from the Treasurer on that subject.