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Tuesday, 26 October 1971
Page: 2482


Mr BARNARD (BASS, TASMANIA) - I direct my question to the Prime Minister. Since the Prime Minister rejects the analysis of his colleague and predecessor the right honourable member for Higgins, I ask him whether the General Manager of the Melbourne Chamber of Commerce said on Sunday: 'a lack of confidence is pervading the business community, and it stems from the deflationary aspects of the August Budget'. Did the Victorian Employers' Federation assert on the same day that any further delay in abandoning the Budget strategy would add to the grave doubts already expressed over the competence of our present leadership? Did the national president of the Metal Trades Industry Association of Australia refer to the need to relieve industry of a general apprehension and lack of confidence? Will he, in the light of these comments from sources normally sympathetic to his Government, reconsider his rejection of the views put forward by the right honourable member for Higgins and thus avoid delay in correcting the economy which the Victorian Employers' Federation described on Sunday as 'the height of electoral folly'?


Mr McMAHON - It must be obvious that the question asked by the honourable gentleman was drafted for him before he heard the question asked by the right honourable member for Higgins. Because if he had heard that question and the answer to it he would know that I have not rejected the advice which might have been tendered by the right honourable gentleman. I will look at the statement and 1 will look at the advice with a great deal of attention and refer it to the necessary authorities. As to the second part of the honourable member's question, there are many people saying just as favourable things about the state of the economy. If the honourable gentleman would care to look at some of the speeches made by the General Manager of the Bank of New South Wales, Sir James Vernon and other people at a meeting of the Institute of Directors last week he will see that they clearly identify the present problem as one of cost-push inflation. If the Labor Party wants to make a contribution towards solving this problem it can do so in the manner I have just mentioned to the Leader of the Opposition.







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