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Thursday, 15 October 1964

Mr E JAMES HARRISON (BLAXLAND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - In the absence of the Prime Minister, my question is directed to the Deputy Prime Minister.

In the light of our federal arbitration system's apparent failure to meet our national needs - the most recent illustration being the action of the Liberal and Country Party Premier in Victoria who, in an effort to restore some element of rough wage justice in the Victorian State instrumentalities, announced his willingness to sign an agreement providing substantial wage increases for employees under Federal awards, completely outside the framework of the Conciliation and Arbitration Act - will the right honorable gentleman discuss with the Prime Minister as a matter of national urgency the question of setting up a royal commission to inquire into, and report to this Parliament upon, the following matters: (a) The extent to which overward payments are now applying in Australia; (b) whether the effect of this overward payment system is not now approaching a level where collective bargaining is fast becoming the order of the day in Australia; (c) the effect that the over-award payment system is having or may have upon the national economy; and, most importantly (d) the best method to be adopted to relate wages to prices and regulate profits in the same manner as wages so as to provide the highest possible standard of living, yet avoiding a continuance of the present upward trend in price levels in Australia?

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