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Thursday, 17 February 1977
Page: 178

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - I ask the Treasurer a question in precise and simple terms. Does the Government adhere to its undertaking of last June that it would not argue against wage award increases by the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission insofar as changes in the Medibank levy resulted in increases in the consumer price index?

Mr LYNCH - I was quite precise and made it quite clear that I would not answer that question in this House. My colleague the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations might see fit to answer it. I will leave the question in his jurisdiction. He may or may not wish to answer it. I do not predict or foreshadow that he will. I was saying that I, as Treasurer, would say in this House no more than I said when I made the economic statement on Tuesday. I repeat that to the honourable gentleman. We shall be stating our position in this matter fully in the national wage case which is expected to commence within a few weeks. I do not propose today to foreshadow our submission in detail. I, as Treasurer, refuse to do so. I leave it to my colleague who may have a different judgment in which case he will exercise it. But, as Treasurer, I refuse to give any indication of detail as to that wage case regardless of what the honourable gentleman seeks to pose to me.

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