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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 4369

Mr ANTHONY (RICHMOND, NEW SOUTH WALES) - Is the Prime Minister aware of an article by one of his advisers, Professor Fred Gruen, in the 9 November issue of the 'ANU Reporter', in which Professor Gruen asks what is wrong with economists drawing attention to the intractable long-term problems which have often been produced by price controls? Does the Prime Minister agree with Professor Gruen's claims that price controls have led to 8-year waits for flats in Stockholm, the abandonment of thousands of apartments in New York every year, the virtual cessation of residential building in France in the 1920s and 1930s and many similar examples? Finally, does he agree with Professor Gruen who said: 'It is up to Bob Hawke to give us some evidence for his assumption that a system of workable price controls can be devised in a mixed economy in peacetime'? If he does agree with Professor Gruen on these matters, will he say so now so that the Australian people will be aware of the dangers of price control before they vote on Saturday?

Mr WHITLAM - The right honourable gentleman is giving wider currency to a distorted report of what Professor Gruen said. Professor Gruen drew my attention to this report. He resents it. It misrepresents him. Like all academic economists in Australia, and I believe the overwhelming majority of the Australian people, he believes that the national Parliament in Australia should have the jurisdication to make laws on prices. He also believes that it should have jurisdication to make laws on incomes and he believes, as all economists believe, that from time to time it is necessary for national governments these days to carry out policies on prices and on incomes.

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