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Tuesday, 16 October 1973
Page: 2134


Mr NICHOLLS (BONYTHON, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Has the Minister for Labour seen an advertisement by W. C. Wentworth published in today's 'Sydney Morning Herald' which is designed to cast a reflection upon the veracity of the Prime Minister by publishing a set of statistics which purport to show that labour's share of the gross domestic product has increased since 1948-1949? Has he examined the figures contained in the advertisement and, if so, has he any comment to make upon them?


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I did see the advertisement this morning. I thought that it was a despicable twisting of statistics to try to cast aspersions on a man whose integrity in this place is without parallel. I consequently had some inquiries made about this important matter. My Department informs me that a Mr John Tilling of the Department has been working on these statistics for some time now for a master's thesis. This work has now reached the point where we are able to make some observations. I would like the House to bear with me while I make them. Mr Tilling worked through a wide range of possible methods, some more acceptable than others, to show how labour's share of the national product has tended in the 20 years from 1948-49 to 1969-70. Despite the different methods of analysis that are adopted in the study the results produced are generally consistent and statistically significant. The choice of different bases to the statistical series does not affect the nature of the results of the study. That is an important observation which I make. To overcome this problem of aggregation Mr Tilling adopts a technique developed by Phelps-Brown - which the honourable gentleman would know all about, I hope - the effect of which compensates for the changing structure of the economy. In total Mr Tilling adopts 6 different approaches to the data available.

Opposition members - Ha, ha!


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - Honourable members will not laugh when they find me getting near the end of my reply. There is considerable difference of opinion as to how national accounting data should be used in a study of this kind. Again, however, Mr Tilling covers the field by adopting 4 different uses of national accounts. They are: (i) gross national product, all industries and sectors; (ii) gross national product at factor cost, less agriculture, mining and quarrying; (iii) gross national product, less the last mentioned item and less goods and services produced by government authorities, as distinct from public enterprises such as government railways, and ownership of private dwellings; (iv) national product, less the items mentioned in (ii) and (iii) and, in addition, electricity generation, public utilities generally, transport sector as a whole, both government and private. In 21 of 24 regression equations Mr Tilling found that the share of national product going to labour had declined in the 20 years from 1948-49 to 1969-70. These findings were statistically significant at the 95 per cent level. That is, the investigator can be 95 per cent sure that the equation he has calculated is a true indication of the movement in the series and is not the product of chance.


Mr Reynolds - Ask for your money back, Bill!


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I am obliged to the honourable gentleman for that interjection. I think that since the honourable member for Mackellar is so friendly with Sir Warwick Fairfax, Sir Warwick ought to demonstrate his friendship by refunding the whole of the cost of the advertisement - if, in fact, the honourable member ever paid for it. I continue. The 3 cases that indicated a positive trend in the wage share were equations using an inter-dependent base outlined in the last section 1(c) (i). I will explain to honourable members what that means if they are interested.


Mr Lynch - I rise on a point of order, Mr Speaker. I am sure that the House is most entertained by the Minister but this clearly is a total abuse of question time. 1 ask the Minister, through the Chair, to make a statement on this matter at another time. I specifically ask the Minister whether he will provide the total text of that document which I happen personally to recall, although 1 do not recall making the same judgment as he has done.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The point of order is well taken with regard to the length of the answer. Time and time again I have made the appeal that questions and answers to them should be brief. Question time affords an opportunity for back bench members to get a fair go in the Parliament. I ask the Minister to be as brief as possible.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - In that case. Mr Speaker, I will not read the last page of the document.


Mr Sinclair - I rise to order, Mr Speaker. Can I ask that the Minister tabic the paper from which he is reading?


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - That is the silliest thing you have ever asked. Of course you can ask me to table it. I was hoping someone would ask me to table it. I will be delighted to do so. However, I should like to have it incorporated in Hansard. I ask leave to incorporate it.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! One request at a time. Will the Minister table the paper?


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I would prefer to ask leave to incorporate the whole paper in Hansard.


Mr SPEAKER -Is leave granted?


Mr Snedden - No, table the paper.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I ask the Minister to hand the paper to the Clerk.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I want to read from it.


Mr Scholes - Mr Speaker, I take a point of order. Is the Leader of the Opposition in order in asking that a paper be tabled while the Minister is quoting from it? The relevant standing order provides that a paper quoted from may be tabled. I submit, Mr Speaker, that if the Minister is required to table the paper while he is quoting from it he is deprived of the use of that paper during his reply. I think that would be contrary to the meaning of the standing order.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! I think the request to table the paper was made on the assumption that the Minister had finished answering the question.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - I will table the paper. I hope that the Press comes down and asks to look at it, because it is worth seeing.


Mr Snedden - Get copies made and distribute them to the Press. Put your signature on the document. You are the comedian.


Mr SPEAKER -Order! The Minister will answer the rest of the question.


Mr Clyde Cameron (HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) - The Leader of the Opposition has the same expression on his face now as he had in his photograph on the front page of the 'Bulletin'. It seems as though he is sitting on the toilet. Out of 24 studies only three could produce the kind of results that the honourable member for Mackellar published. The other 21 support the Prime Minister's assertion that the share going to labour has decreased. It so happens that it was those three which produced different results from the 21 which the previous Government chose to use in the national wage cases. I have much pleasure now in producing the remainder of the document for tabling.


Mr Wentworth - Mr Speaker, may I have the indulgence of the House to make a statement not exceeding 2 minutes?


Mr SPEAKER - Order! I have not given the call to the honourable member. This is question time. If the honourable member has been misrepresented he can seek to make a personal explanation after question time.







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