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Tuesday, 8 November 1977
Page: 3030

Mr HURFORD (ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA) -My question is directed to the Treasurer. Did he and the Prime Minister forecast in the last national election campaign two years ago a growth rate in the following year of 6 per cent to 7 per cent and 'jobs for all who want to work', to mention just two economic indicators and two broken promises? Is it not a fact that he and his party were wrong in every economic forecast they made during that election campaign? Why should we take any notice of the economic forecasts of unkown origin mentioned by the Prime Minister yesterday and by the Treasurer today in Question Time in the light of the abysmal record and the depressing information . . .

Mr SPEAKER -Order! The honourable gentleman will ask his question.

Mr HURFORD - . . . in the light of the forecasts made and the information given by the prestigious Australian and New Zealand Bank index of economic activity and other such organisations which are prepared to put their names to the forecasts?

Mr LYNCH - One does not need to rely on the forecasts brought down by this Government to recognise that recovery is taking place and that inflation has been subject to a very significant fall. If the honourable gentleman doubts that let me quote but one of the many authoritative spokesmen in the economic area throughout the Australian community. I quote from a section of the Syntec review from which the Prime Minister quoted yesterday. Syntec said this:

We expect the medium to long term bond rate structure to move gradually towards 8 per cent through 1 978. We expect the rate of inflation to move sustainably below 8 per cent on a year-on-year basis from mid- 1978 onwards.

Having said that, Syntec went on to express two sharp qualifications to those forecasts. I think the people would be interested in the qualifications. Syntec said:

Only two things would upset this prospect: (i) defeat of the Fraser Government; or (ii) reversion to pump priming fiscal expansion.

I am sure there is no chance whatsoever of this Government being defeated in the polls that lie ahead. The people recognise that the honourable ! gentleman who has just posed the question is a lonely voice when speaking about the economy. What he has put forward represents a direct reversion to the pump priming policies which put the Labor Government out of office in 1975. This Government can say without any shadow of doubt that 1978 will be the best year of economic performance in the course of the past five years.

Honourable members interjecting-

Mr LYNCH - If the honourable member for Adelaide wants to trade growth figures, I remind him in the gentlest possible way, because I have no reason to offend someone who is rather quiet in the economic area, that in 1975, the last year of the Labor Administration, non-farm product increased by only 0.3 per cent. In 1976 under this Government the average rate of growth was 4.2 per cent. If we look forward to 1 978, as the Prime Minister said yesterday, the increase in non-farm product is expected to be 5 per cent. The honourable gentleman's policies are discredited on the record and on that record the party that he represents will again be rejected on 10 December.

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