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Wednesday, 1 December 1965

Mr McMAHON - There are several different methods of wage fixation or wage adjustment. In Australia we have a comprehensive system which includes conciliation, arbitration, private negotiation and other methods. Fundamentally we believe in a system which in the last resort depends on arbitration as the most satisfactory method of arranging or deciding both the basic wage and the margins structure of Federal awards. In the United Kingdom there is a system of collective bargaining which, as is obvious at the present time, is not entirely successful.

As to the second part of the question, the prices and wages commission in the United Kingdom has recently recommended freezing an increase in wages that was determined for one section of the working class in the British economy. An increase of the order of 5 per cent., I think, was decided upon, and immediately the wages commission recommended that those wages be frozen at the pre-existing level. The substance of the information contained in the honorable gentleman's question is quite correct. In the United Kingdom they are not now leaving it to the free play of market forces and arbitration. A commission can recommend the veto of increases should it think it wise to do so.

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