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Call for Income Prices Policy



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No. 7

STATEMENT BY THE RT. HON. B. M. SNEDDEN, Q.C., M.P,

LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION - CANBERRA - 11/4/1973

Call for Incomes Prices Policy

Prices are ripping holes into housewives' weekly

b u d g e t s . The wage earner knows his pay is buying less.

There are significant price movements on almost every item.

• The Consumer Price Index to be released next week by

t h e

8 per cent per annum in the rate of price 'increases. -Every

• i ; ;

woman in Australia, who does the family shopping would feel

that it is even h i g h e r . Every day there seems to be a

price-hike in t h e ^ s upermarket. / /

There are some indications that on current tr e n d s , '

and with the impetus the Labor Government is giving to inflation,

annual price increases will reach double figures. This has

not happened in Australia since the last Labor Government.

I have frequently said that inflation will be the

undoing of the Labor Government unless they change their .

basic attitudes. ’ It is certainly Australia's primary .

economic and social problem. ;

It is pleasing to see from the Prime Minister's

statement, in response to Mr. Hamer's initiative, that he is

coming around to some sort of balanced approach. It

indicates that he could be thinking of scrapping his cosmetic .

Parliamentary Prices Committee which would make no real /'

impact, his Prices Justification Tribunal which also would

prove to be an empty sham because it would look at only one

aspect of this problem, that is p r i c e s . It shows that

he is, for the first time, publicly acknowledging the

significant role incomes escalation plays in the inflationary

spiral. j

2

For the first time the Labor Party acknowledges that

any attempt to deal with cost inflation, which does not

account for the realities of wages pressure on p r i c e s , is

unreal and doomed to failure. I am not opposed to the

concept of incomes/prices policies to cope with very serious

circumstances. ^ The former Government by its approach to the

problem achieved a reduction of the state of inflation from · , i / *

7 per cent down -to 4.6 per cent, while maintaining significant

1 > ' / i . ' , : r \ . . V / ·

real1 ; growth.

However, because of the way the Labor Government is pushing /

at the moment, -we -are likely to need some sort of dramatic

action'; /