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Thursday, 31 October 1974
Page: 2198

Senator Greenwood asked the Minister representing the Minister for Labor and Immigration, upon notice:

(   1 ) Did the Commonwealth Government present a submission to the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission in the course of the National Wage Case hearing by the Commission in 1974.

(2)   Did the submission refer to the rate of inflation in Australia.

(3)   Did the submission record that the rate of inflation then operating was the second worst among the developed countries of the world; if so, was the submission accurate at the time it was presented.

(4)   On what date was the submission presented to the Commission.

Senator Bishop - The Minister for Labor and Immigration has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question: (l)and(2)Yes.

(   3 ) No. The information on inflation rates presented in the course of the 1974 National Wage Case by counsel for the Australian Government concerned only 10 countries- viz Australia, Canada, USA, United Kingdom, Japan, Federal Republic of Germany, Italy, France, the Netherlands, and New Zealand. It did not claim to cover all developed countries, but was in the same form as tables submitted by the Australian Government in previous National Wage Cases. The information presented was derived from OECD and other official statistics and was accurate.

Two tables of statistics were given- one showing annual rates of change in the CPI from 1964 to 1973 and the other showing 5 year averages for the annual increase in the CPI over the same period. I take it that the honourable senator is referring to the 1973 figure in the former table.

If this is so I would mention just 2 points. The first is that statistics were not given for 14 other members of the OECD, most of which are usually regarded as developed countries. The second is that I am advised that the statistics presented showed only the percentage change in the CPI for the month of December 1973 compared with the month of December 1972. (The figures for Australia and New Zealand related to the percentage increase in the December quarter 1973 over the December quarter of the previous year.) There can be significant differences in such statistics from month to month. For these reasons the generalisation put forward by the honourable senator is misconceived.

(4)   5 April 1974.

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