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Wednesday, 30 November 1983
Page: 3053

Mr HOWARD —My question is addressed to the Treasurer. The Treasurer may recall that, despite the artificiality of the Budget's consumer price index forecast for 1983-84 due to the effect of Medicare, the Treasurer refused to allow any other measure of the underlying rate of inflation to be included in the Budget, such as the non-farm gross domestic product implicit price deflator which had always been included on earlier occasions. I ask the Treasurer whether the implicit price deflator in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet's suppressed September update of the scenario from the National Economic Summit Conference is the same figure that was suppressed by him from the Budget? Does the Treasurer agree with the Prime Minister and Cabinet projection for 1983-84- which incidentally he says is generally wrong, although it appears to be based on his own Budget figuring-that the non-farm GDP implicit price deflator of 8 per cent is correct?

Mr KEATING —I have on a number of occasions indicated that as part of the Government's strategy for 1983-84 it was very important to have the Medicare effects operating on the consumer price index. Indeed, that has been part of the strategy of the accord with the trade union movement. In respect of the broader deflators, I have said on a number of occasions both inside and outside the House that something of the order of the figure the honourable gentleman mentioned is appropriate for 1983-84.

Mr Howard —Why did you suppress it?

Mr KEATING —I did not suppress it at all. I said it on a number of occasions.