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Friday, 8 November 1985
Page: 1849

Senator Dame MARGARET GUILFOYLE — My question, which is directed to the Minister representing the Treasurer, concerns the devaluation of the Australian dollar. I note that the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Mr Willis, has been quoted in today's Age as having said yesterday:

. . . the Government would consider changing its wages policy only if the devaluation of the dollar became entrenched.

He is further quoted as saying:

If there is some substantial deterioration built into the system that looks like lasting we will have to consider our position.

How long will the Government wait before considering its position on wages policy and has it already taken any steps to discuss the seriousness of the position with the Australian Council of Trade Unions?

Senator WALSH —I have not seen that report in the Age that was attributed to Mr Willis, although yesterday I did say something similar in a public situation. Senator Dame Margaret Guilfoyle asked how long it would be before the Government would consider changing its position on wages policy. Since it is not my primary responsibility, I could not give a definite answer. I will see whether Mr Willis has anything to say. Likewise, I will see whether Mr Willis has held any tentative or preliminary discussions with the ACTU on this question.