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Tuesday, 22 August 1972
Page: 522

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The right honourable gentleman's time has expired.

Mr Chipp - I move:

That the Treasurer be given an extension of time.

Opposition members - Why?

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The House will come to order.

Mr Chipp - May I have leave to say to the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean), who is at the table, that I have consulted with the Deputy Leader of the Opposition (Mr Barnard), who has consented to an extension of time being granted to the Treasurer (Mr Snedden) on the understanding that we give the honourable member for Melbourne Ports the same courtesy, which we will be pleased to do.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Mr SNEDDEN - This cartoonist, Mr Pickering, from the 'Canberra Times' had the Leader -of the Opposition standing against a tree and the President of the ACTU and the Senior Vice-President of the Australian Labor Party, with a quiver of arrows and a bow, saying to the Leader of the Opposition: The secret is that you remain completely motionless'. That is exactly what has happened. The Leader of the Opposition periodically is allowed to strut the stage with the distortion and the petty cliches. This Budget is stimulatory. It will strengthen growth, and no expert opinion contests this. The Budget stimulus will be provided through increased private sector spending by increased pensions, increased take home pay and underwriting increased consumption in the community. Does the Opposition say that tax concessions totalling $434m this year and welfare and repatriation expenditure increases of $362m this year will not encourage spending? Is that what members of the Opposition say? Is that why they have moved an amendment to the motion to accept the Budget? Do they condemn it because they feel that it will not be stimulatory? If they adopt that attitude they will be in glorious isolation because nobody at all believes that. Have they overlooked the increase of $395m in payments to the States? Do they deny that increased consumer spending will in turn encourage investment? Is that what they say? The Budget strategy is quite clear. We have acted decisively to foster private sector spending, yet the Budget is responsible. It would be enlightening if the Australian Labor Party would reveal how it would spend the revenues, by how much it would increase the revenues and by how much it would increase personal income tax. That is why income tax is not mentioned in the amendment which the Opposition has put forward.

One matter remains with which I want to deal in more detail in the extended time allowed to me. The Leader of the Opposition adopted the proposal that 150,000 to 200,000 people would be unemployed even at the expected growth rate. I categorically say that that is abject and complete nonsense. The Leader of the Opposition said that the position had been exposed by the honourable member for Hindmarsh (Mr Clyde Cameron) and the honourable member for Melbourne Ports (Mr Crean). The honourable member for Hindmarsh reached the conclusion that 100,000 people would be unemployed. The Leader of the Opposition has jacked up that estimate by 50 per cent to 100 per cent. The honourable member for Hindmarsh reached his conclusion on the basis of an estimated growth in the work force of 190,000 and the slower growth of employment, he said, of 2 per cent, giving employment for 90,000 and leaving a gap of 100,000.

I honestly believe that members of the Opposition wish that to be true but unfortunately for them their wish will not be our command because that position will not arise. The honourable member for Hindmarsh is wrong because the normal growth of the work force is about 170,000 and not 190,000. Two per cent growth in employment is 115,000, and not 90,000 as the honourable member for Hindmarsh suggested. Therefore the gap of 100,000 suggested by the honourable member for

Hindmarsh has to be halved to 55,000. Adopting the honourable member's logic it could be said that there may be 55,000 unemployed, but I have disclosed that his logic is wrong.

What is more important is that apparently the honourable member for Hindmarsh did not read properly Statement No. 1 attached to the Budget papers. If he had read it properly, or if the speech writers of the Leader of the Opposition had read it properly, they would have been aware thai there is expected to be a year-on-year comparison of 2 per cent, but the rate of growth this year is expected to be greater because it is starting from a lower base. That will very considerably alter the matter. Not too many honourable members are betting men, but I suggest to them that they wager 20c with the honourable member for Hindmarsh against his estimate of 100,000 unemployed, or with the Leader of the Opposition against his estimate of 200,000 unemployed. On second thoughts, perhaps they, ought not do that because it is not proper to bet on certainties and the Leader of the Opposition and the honourable member for Hindmarsh are certainly wrong. . 1 believe that this Budget ,has been received very warmly by the public. I believe that the public would regard any action oy the Opposition to try to deny .them the fruits of the Budget or to prevent the economy from having the thrust which the Budget will provide as action that would not serve the interest or will of the public. I believe that the public would not be impressed with the great catalogue of promises that the Leader of the Opposition made by inference in his speech. It is true that in formulating this Budget. the Government went to the very boundary of responsibility and to go beyond that would, be irresponsible. The Opposition would not only go beyond it but would go markedly beyond it and in doing so it would,, with great certainty, have to increase the amount of personal income tax; alternatiyely .it would have to take out the deductions .which the Budget has already provided.; : . ; .

Mr CLYDECAMERON (Hindmarsh)I wish to make a personal explanation as I have been misrepresented by the. Treasurer (Mr Snedden). He misrepresented me when he said that I had stated that the number of people who would be out of work by February of next year would be 100,000 and that therefore the estimate of the Leader of the Opposition (Mr Whitlam) of 150,000 to 200,000 unemployed was nearly double the figure that I had stated would be the true figure. That is not true. I said that with the estimated growth rate of 2 per cent - the only firm estimate that the Treasurer could make - we would have an extra 100,000 unemployed on top of those who are unemployed now, making a total of 200,000 unemployed by February of next year. 1 am prepared to bet anybody in this House that at least that number of people will be unemployed by February of next year.

Suspension of Standing Orders

Motion (by Mr Chipp) - by leave - agreed to:

Thai so much of the Standing Orders be suspended as would prevent the honourable member for Melbourne Ports speaking for a period not exceeding 30 minutes.

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