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Friday, 3 December 1976

Mr LIONEL BOWEN (KINGSFORD-SMITH, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I direct a question to the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. I refer to the thesis that the Minister espouses that partial indexation of award wages is good but that full indexation of awards is always bad. Has the Minister seen reports which indicate that if full indexation of awards had been given in the 2 decisions relating to the March and June quarters, the effect of indexation in September would have been a mere 0.4 per cent? Therefore, does it not prove the stability of full wage indexation because it guarantees there will be no compression of relativity? Is the Minister aware that the Government's own bungling of the Medibank issue guarantees that the December consumer price index will now escalate from an estimated 2.7 per cent to 5.7 per cent and therefore there are many factors other than wages which affect the consumer price index? Accordingly, will the Minister now support the Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and support full indexation of award wages to prevent confrontation with the trade union movement and to give some stability to future wage increases in this country?

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