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Thursday, 26 March 1987
Page: 1390

Senator LEWIS —I ask the Minister for Industry, Technology and Commerce: Is it a fact that in the 1986 calendar year the aggregate level of Australian company profits, as revealed by recent Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, fell by 13 per cent over the previous year and that for manufacturing, in particular, the supposed benefits of the depreciation of the Australian dollar are nowhere to be seen as rising costs, including wage costs, interest repayments and the cost of imported components have driven profitability in manufacturing down by around 8.1 per cent in current dollar terms? After adjustments for inflation, this represents a real decline of around 16.83 per cent over 1985.

Senator BUTTON —The honourable senator asks questions like a cobra. He mesmerises me with figures. I cannot reply to all those figures and I suggest that he put his question on notice.