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Friday, 19 April 1985
Page: 1256


Senator Dame MARGARET GUILFOYLE —I refer the Minister for Finance to a speech he made in Sydney yesterday in which, referring to the need for unions to moderate wage claims to avoid cancelling the beneficial effects of devaluation, he said:

There would be opportunities for demonstrating moderation in claims in relation to exchange rate effects at the next wage indexation hearings and in relation to productivity-related pay increases.

Given that the Australian Council of Trade Unions Senior Vice-President, Simon Crean, has already rejected anything less than full wage indexation and is seeking productivity gains, can we take it from the Minister's remarks that the Government intends to support discounting at the next wage case hearing? Will this require renegotiation of the prices and incomes accord?


Senator WALSH —My views, of course, are a matter of public record in the speech I made yesterday. Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle asked whether this could be taken as an indication that the Government will be doing something or other. No, it cannot, because no decision has yet been made by the Government, for the reasons which the Prime Minister has referred to on a number of occasions, that is, that the issue will not be relevant in the national wage case context until, I think, about September of this year. In that intervening period I would expect the Government to be examining a number of options.