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Thursday, 9 December 1976

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER (Mr Giles -Order! I take it that the honourable member does not mean that the Prime Minister is dishonest. If he does, he will have to withdraw that remark.

Mr HURFORD - I suggest that some ofthe allegations in the Prime Minister's statement which has just been read to the House are completely wrong. But I will not impute motives to him. I have drawn some conclusions. If those conclusions are unparliamentary and, Mr Deputy Speaker, if you want me to withdraw, I will. But I think I have got my message over. I say that the proposals of the Australian Labor Party Opposition have been modest. We realise that there cannot be a limitless increase in the money supply. We realise that a very great increase in the Budget deficit cannot be financed without increases in interest rates. What we have been putting forward as the alternative economic strategy has been a modest plan. If that plan had been adopted earlier this year we would not have the lack of confidence which pervades the community. We would not have had that lack of confidence spreading abroad with all the dire consequences leading up to devaluation.

I end on the note that the Government members could not be enthused by this statement because they know that the tide is turning. They know that their credibility gap is too great All these promises of not meddling with Medibank have been broken; the promise of not interfering with wage indexation was immediately broken. There was a suggestion that there would be more take home pay after taxation and there is less. All these things have added up to a completely incompetent economic management of this country over the last 12 months by these men who grabbed for power on the excuse that they could manage the economy better. They have not done so. This statement by the Prime Minister which is meant to hoodwink this country into believing that they have done so is completely pathetic.

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