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Thursday, 14 November 1974
Page: 2372

Senator MAUNSELL (QUEENSLAND) - My question is directed to the Leader of the Government in the Senate in his capacity as Minister representing the Prime Minister. I refer to the new guidelines affecting the operations of the Prices Justification Tribunal and I ask: Will the Tribunal be placed in a dilemma by having on the one hand to permit higher profit levels and on the other to honour its statutory responsibility to control the level of price rises? Does the Prime Minister's announcement support widespread criticism by companies and business organisations of Tribunal decisions?

Senator MURPHY - I do not accept the simple way in which the honourable senator has stated the position of the Tribunal and the criteria to which it will pay account. I think the various factors that have to be considered are ones which the Tribunal can well consider, as it is specially skilled in dealing with such matters. It is not a matter of higher profits that was spoken of by the Prime Minister. As I recall it, it was a question of taking into account the capacity of businesses to engage in investment. I do not think there is anything in the Prime Minister's statement which would give support to any criticism of the Tribunal. I think the community has been pleased at the way in which it has operated. That we can have a tribunal which is able to make decisions which, while not carrying any sanction, have been observed by the community has been a singular experiment. We hope that this kind of procedure will continue successfully. I think that the Tribunal, with the special talents of its members, will be able to continue to operate. As its operations extend I think it will help to counter in Australia the effects of the world wide inflation.

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