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June Quarter

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Australia is now amongst the very highest inflation countries in the world. Without doubt inflation is reaching national crisis levels. This is the highest inflation rate for 21 years and there is nothing to indicate it has peaked yet

and will not get worse. We cannot allow inflation to keep running.

It is a cause for very real concern. It is not only

statistics in the newspapers - it affects the lives of every one of us, and more particularly the economically weak. It distorts our allocation of resources. It makes us less competitive abroad. It seriously erodes our standard of

living. Its seriousness cannot be over stated.

This is no time to be scoring heavy political points. It's time for us to work together to control the insidious disease. The Liberal Party wants to fully co-operate with the Government on realistic and proper policies even if they are difficult to

implement. All Australians must co-opcratc in what is now an urgent national task.

Fortunately, the information comes at a time when Cabinet Ministers are still considering the Budget. It's a reminder to the Government to act responsibly. Concern for the interests of all Australians must come first.

The Government’s approach to inflation so far has been utterly inadequate. The Liberal Party had success in the fight against inflation and we won a reputation for economic responsibility. We showed that we were able to control

inflationary pressures more quickly and more effectively than most developed countries during the difficult period while I was Treasurer. We pulled the inflation rate back from 7 percent to 4.6 percent at a tine when it was rising in other

parts of the world. Inflation is a difficult problem, but it must be controlled. We were unhappy with annual movements in prices of 2 to 3 percent, but learned to live with them. We cannot possibly learn to liye with 13 percent. There is nothing

special about a June quarter to explain it. Last year’s June quarter was 0.9 percent, which would give an annual rate of 3.6 percent. There is no doubt that food prices are making the major impact but the rate of inflation excluding food is

9.2 percent. It is still extraordinarily high. All major non-food groups, household supplies, clothing, housing and so on arc showing frightening rates of increase.

There is no impact on this quarter's figures of Government charges such as fares or indirect taxes which we have been led to expect in the near future. The September quarter prospect can only be described as alarming.