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Thursday, 17 February 1977

Mr STREET (CORANGAMITE, VICTORIA) (Minister Assisting the Prime Minister in Public Service Matters) -There are a couple of points that I would like to make. Firstly, I reiterate what the Treasurer said: The Government makes known its case to be presented at the national wage hearing at the proper time- when it appears before the Full Bench of the Commission. The Leader of the Opposition did not quote in precise terms, so far as I remember, the communique which was issued.

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -I do not mind if the precise words are incorporated in Hansard. I have them here.

Mr STREET - I think it might be useful to have the precise words incorporated.

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -May I read them?

Mr STREET -Read them if you like and get it over in that way.

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Do I read them or do you?

Mr STREET - I will read them. The communique states:

The Government indicated that insofar as these changes-

That is changes in the consumer price index- resulted in increases in the consumer price index, then, for the purpose of adjustment to award wages for movements in the consumer price index under the wage indexation principles, the Commonwealth would not be arguing that the index should be 'discounted ' for these particular increases.

That is the quote from the communique of the time.

Mr E G Whitlam (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) -You interpolated after changes' the words 'in the consumer price index'. They are changes in Medibank.

Mr STREET -To remove any doubt, I quoted:

The Government indicated that insofar as these changes-

I interpolated there: 'These changes being changes in the CPI due to the introduction of new Medibank arrangements'. That should remove any misunderstanding. The Government is concerned that the question of the new Medibank arrangements be dealt with on a once and for all basis, not in a piecemeal way as has happened in several industrial cases recently. Therefore we believe the proper place to resolve it is at national wage case hearings. The Government case, when it is presented at the proper time, will take into account what was said earlier.

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