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Wednesday, 21 October 1964

Senator MCCLELLAND (NEW SOUTH WALES) - My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate. Has the Minister seen a report that the consumer price index shows that living costs throughout Australia rose by 4s. a week in the September quarter, following upon an increase of 3s. a week in the June quarter? Does this mean that rising prices have absorbed nearly all the increase of 5s. a week granted to age and invalid pensioners within a few weeks of their first receiving it? Does the Minister agree that this increase and the fact that the hire purchase debt of the Australian public is now at a record level of £485 million, that already £22 million has been called in by the Reserve Bank of Australia and that there has been a downward trend in Australia's balance of trade are warning signs which must be heeded? If so, what plans, if any, has the Government made or what steps is it likely to take to correct this situation?

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