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Tuesday, 30 November 1976

Mr William McMahon (LOWE, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I claim to have been misrepresented by the honourable member for Oxley (Mr Hayden). He correctly quoted a statement by me which was reported in the Melbourne Herald of 15 July, but the report went further. It read:

Mr McMahonsaid Australia was pricing itself out of export markets and the Government must consider a devaluation as an instrument of policy to right the position.

But he said devaluation could not be considered until the Government knew where wages were going.

No action was possible until wages in Australia were comparable with those in its major trading partners- or at least moving in that direction.

Mr McMahonsaid recent wage increases had been at a rate which were impossible for primary industry to sustain.

He quoted comparative Australian and American wage increases- in December 197 1 the average Australian earned $80 a week and this had risen to $158 in 1975. This compared with the U.S. figures of $113 in 1971 and $135 last year.

What the honourable gentleman said was a total misrepresentation. If he had any decency he would apologise.

Mr Hayden - Mr Deputy Speaker,I would be very happy to apologise. If the honourable member says that the record should be as he says I accept that. I quoted from the Melbourne Herald. I will show it to him. A person of such eminence and stature as a political economist deserves to be reported correctly. It is much more helpful for the Opposition.

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