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Tuesday, 11 December 1973
Page: 2621


Senator WITHERS (WESTERN AUSTRALIA) -I ask the Leader of the Government in the Senate: Now that the people of Australia have shown their overwhelming distrust of this Federal Government's search for power and, in effect, have told the Government to use the powers it already has, will the Leader of the Government tell the Senate when the Government will decide on and announce a plan to stem and reduce the alarming rate of inflation which it, and it alone, has created in this country?


Senator MURPHY -First of all, the Leader of the Opposition is off course. The Australian people have taken their decision in relation to whether the Constitution should be amended. They are entitled to take that decision. Our view is that the people should be asked to make a decision on these questions. The fact that the people rejected the proposals put to them is their business, and they are entitled to take that view. What is wrong is the attitude which the Opposition takes in voting against proposals being put to the people for their consideration, as it did on that occasion and as it has done on other occasions. As to what ought to be done about the economy, everyone agrees that there should be an all-round approach to these questions, particularly the question of inflation. Every school child knows that there is world-wide inflation. If one reads the public documents, it is clear that when this Government came into office there was already an incipient high rate of inflation. (Opposition senators interjecting)-


Senator MURPHY -Listen to the scoffs from honourable senators opposite. If one looks at even the documents of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, this is apparent. No attempt ought to be made to fool the people on this question, because such an attempt will not succeed. If the Opposition wants to help, it will assist in passing legislation such as the Trade Practices Bill- the consumer protection legislation- which everyone in the community agrees will be vital if we are to tackle the problem of inflation. If the Opposition thinks that because the people of Australia have rejected the proposals put forward in the referendum it is entitled to go ahead and oppose the legislative proposals brought forward by the Government under the Constitution as it now stands, I think it will find that it is sadly mistaken.







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