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Thursday, 27 September 1973
Page: 1603

Mr WHITTORN (BALACLAVA, VICTORIA) - I direct a question to the Acting Treasurer during the temporary absence of the Treasurer. What sort of anomalies are involved when the Government is trying, by stringent measures, to reduce domestic liquidity at one end of the economy, that is, the private sector, while simultaneously pumping money in at the other end, the non-producing end, with a 19 per cent lift in the public sector? What does the Minister call this type of economic control? I call it chaotic economic management.

Mr HAYDEN (OXLEY, QUEENSLAND) (Minister for Social Security) - The honourable member may call it what he will, but he might be interested to know that I am not much impressed by his observation. Outlays increased at a far greater rate than income in the Budget last year than was the case with the Budget this year. There was a much bigger turn-around towards a deficit last year than this year. In fact, there was an actual reduction on the level of deficit this year compared to last year. The problems of the economy at the moment have largely been aggravated by the massive increase in the volume of money in the economy, as I mentioned yesterday, that is, a massive increase in the degree of liquidity available. There was a lag between when that occurred and when it started to have its effect. It is having its effect now. The problems with which we are grappling are ones for which honourable members opposite are responsible through their mismanagement. However, I ask members of the Opposition where they would cut back. Would they cut back on pensions? Is this the non-productive area about which they talk? Would they cut back on defence?

Mr Edwards - What about the pipeline?

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The House will come to order. The Minister has been asked a question and he is endeavouring to answer it.

Mr HAYDEN - Would members of the Opposition reduce outlays on housing for low income earners, a program which the Minister for Housing has developed and which for the first time ever gives a priority specifically to people in this group? I think it is time for members of the Opposition, if they assert that there should be a cut back in public expediture, to say precisely where it should take place and to indicate at that time why they are so opposed to the Government's programs for health, welfare, education, housing and development of the urban environment. Do they object to the $30m which will go to the States for the development of sewerage works? If they are not opposed to these proposals, to what are they opposed? Or is their performance now consistent with that which they displayed in government when, even then, they did not know what they were talking about?

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