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Thursday, 6 December 1973
Page: 2537

Senator GREENWOOD (VICTORIA) -Is the Minister representing the Prime Minister aware of the continuing reports and the growing evidence of the shortage of many commodities in the stores of Australia- shortages of groceries, electrical goods and even textiles? Is the Minister aware also that in the last days of the last Labor Government, up to 1949, shortages of commodities and black markets were the order of the day? Are not shortages and black markets a concomitant everywhere throughout the world of price control?

Senator MURPHY - It is rather difficult to follow the logic of the honourable senator's question. He says that shortages are developing in a system where there is no price control, yet claims that shortages are a concomitant of price control. I cannot follow that logic. The facts are that some shortages are developing in the community and productivity is increasing. Production is increasing but a shortage is developing of certain goods, such as furniture, furnishings and so on. That is because we are in a period of unparalleled prosperity. Unemployment is at its lowest, more is being produced, and people are getting the money to spend. Now, under the Labor Government, they are able to purchase the goods. They want to buy things that they were not able to buy before. Therefore there is a vastly increased demand for consumer goods.

I think everyone ought to be happy that people have the wherewithal, the money, to buy the goods. We hope that, with full employment and with the rationalisation which is occurring throughout industry, the demand will be supplied. The state of affairs is a very healthy one when people are confident and are wanting to purchase consumer goods, so much so that the shops are running out of them. The situation is a lot better than that which occurred under the previous Administration, when the shops were full of goods, unemployment was increasing and people could not afford to buy the goods.

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