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Tuesday, 19 August 1980
Page: 452

Mr Barry Jones (LALOR, VICTORIA) asked the Minister for Productivity, upon notice, on 22 May 1980:

(1)   Is he able to state whether the introduction of the 40 hour week in Australia in 1947-48 had any adverse effects on productivity; if so, can he state what they were.

(2)   Is he further able to state whether the introduction of a 3-day working week by the Heath Government in the United Kingdom as an emergency measure during the national coal strike between November 1973 and January 1974, and the resultant 40 per cent fall in hours worked, had any adverse effects on productivity and, if so, what they were.

Mr Newman - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   No.

(2)   No. In explanation of these responses, the honourable member may care to reflect upon the difficulties in ascribing to a single cause, such as those mentioned in his question, changes in such a complex variable as national productivity. whether a partial measure is used, such as labour productivity, or a more comprehensive measure is adopted such as total factor productivity. Should the honourable member wish, I will refer to him recent preliminary research documents produced by my Department which outline these concepts and provide some quantitative analyses.

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