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Thursday, 31 October 1996
Page: 4892


Senator CONROY —My question is directed to the Assistant Treasurer. Minister, I refer to your answer to a dorothy dixer yesterday in which you expressed concern, justified concern, about corporate executives enjoying excessive wage increases while demanding wage restraint on the shop floor. Are you aware that a prominent Liberal Party figure, Hugh Morgan, recently received a salary increase of $200,000 a year? Isn't it true that, as your government's nominee to the board of the Reserve Bank, he is charged with encouraging policies which moderate inflationary pressures, including those caused by excessive wage demands? The Treasurer said two days ago:

As far as the government is concerned, wage-productivity outcomes based on restraint, locking in low inflation, are a two-way street. It is a question of not just the work force but management as well realising the potential that they have to lead by example in this area.

What credibility does Mr Morgan have as a guardian of low inflation and wage moderation? Are you satisfied with the example he is setting? (Time expired)


Senator KEMP —Thank you, Senator Conroy, for raising this question again. We have made our position very clear. There is an era which is emerging of low wage and salary increases. What we are looking at is a low inflation economy and wage and salary increases which are based on productivity gains. We have indicated that we expect all groups in the community to recognise that we are now in a low inflation economy and we expect all groups to have moderate demands in relation to wage and salary increases which recognise that low inflation level. We do not resile, Senator Conroy, from those particular statements. I am very happy to have the chance to repeat, once again, that this is the government's position. We expect all groups in the community to show restraint.