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Wednesday, 28 November 1973
Page: 2180

Senator LILLICO (TASMANIA) - I direct a question to the Minister representing the Prime Minister. I ask the Minister whether he believes that Mr T. C.

Winter was the most competent constitutional and economic authority available to report to the Government on power over prices and incomes. It will be recalled that he brought forth the extraordinary conclusion that all incomes should be vetted. Is it not correct to say that some of the overseas experiences in the operation of these powers quoted by Mr Winter certainly do not support the idea that they are necessary to combat inflation? Will or can an opportunity be given for a debate on this report during this session?

Senator MURPHY -Mr Winter is well known as an industrial authority in Australia. He served for a long time with the Commonwealth Conciliation and Arbitration Commission and before and after that time in the industrial world. I think that he has been recognised as a man with a vast understanding of the industrial complexities of our country and the movements of prices and wages. The Government is indebted to him for the assistance which he has given in a practical way in suggesting what action may be taken. As the honourable senator would know, the experience of countries overseas has been varied. I do not know whether such a power is necessary in other countries. I do know that most of them have such a power and we do not. I know also that it is generally recognised that the Australian Government does not have the legislative powers which would enable it properly to manage the economy of the country. I think that there would be very few people- I trust that the honourable senator is not amongst them- who would think that the Commonwealth Government ought not to be given the powers per medium of the Australian Parliament to take the administrative action pursuant to laws made by this Parliament which would enable us to curb inflation and to manage the economy properly.

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