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Wednesday, 21 October 1964

Senator PALTRIDGE - As the honorable senator was asking his question I wondered how he would inject the customary fear or warning motive. He ran true to form and got it in. The Government, which always keeps a close watch on economic trends and developments, does not regard the present situation as being one which should create panic or in which responsible members of Parliament should try to create panic. I did see a report about the consumer price index having risen. That rise could not have come as a surprise to anyone who watches economic trends. It will be recalled that, when the recent basic wage increase was announced, it was generally agreed by economists and others who watch the economy that ohe of the inescapable effects of the increase would be a rise in living costs.

Senator Hendrickson - It is not fair.

Senator PALTRIDGE - The honorable senator says that it is not fair, but he does not advance any antidote to a situation in which basic wage rises create increases in costs except, of course, the tattered one of price control which is still adhered to by the Australian Labour Party, which is completely discredited, and which in its turn brings more problems than it solves. The honorable senator referred to the effects on the balance of trade of increasing prices and of greater imports. I suggest that he should look closely at our overseas balances. Due to sound Government policy, our over seas position is stronger now than it has been at any time previously in our history.

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