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Thursday, 31 October 1974
Page: 2197

Senator Greenwood asked the AttorneyGeneral, upon notice:

Does the Attorney-General recall stating in the Senate on 23 July 1974 that inflation in Australia has been said by the Organization for Economic and Co-Operative Development to have started in the life of the previous Government: If so will he refer to the date and text of what the Organization actually said.

Senator Murphy - The answer to the honourable senator's question is as follows:

I made the following statement in the Senate on 23 July 1974 (see Hansard, page 339):

The action taken by the Government no doubt materially assisted in holding down the inflation which was under way and which was commented on by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development as having begun here in the time of the previous Government and as being rampant overseas'.

The comments of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to whichI referred (see the

OECD Economic Survey of Australia, April 1974) were as follows:

Since 1 970-7 1 there has been a marked quickening in the rate of price inflation and the consumer price index for the December quarter of 1 973 showed an increase of 13.2 per cent over the corresponding quarter of 1 972.

It was against this background of rapid price inflation and the failure of the States to act uniformly that the Australian Government which came into power in December 1972 announced a number of initiatives in the area of price control. A Parliamentary Joint Committee on prices was appointed to report on a wide area relating to prices. Referenda were held in December 1973 on the questions of vesting in the Australian Parliament full constitutional powers to control incomes and prices. In the event, the referenda failed to be passed so that these powers remained with the States'. (Page 52).

According to latest estimates the rate of increase of food prices has not been slowing down since September and an easing in the escalation of property prices is discernible. Nevertheless, with the expected very high rates of inflation abroad- the GNP deflator for the OECD area as a whole this year is estimated to rise by about 10 per centthe pressure from external sources is likely to remain severe'. (Page 27).

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