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Thursday, 1 December 1983
Page: 3165

Mr HOWARD —I refer the Treasurer to the threat of the Australian Council of Trade Unions revealed in the minutes of the Economic Planning Advisory Council meeting tabled in this Parliament a few days ago that it would not continue to support work on economic projections if that work were put to what was described as an improper purpose and in fact included merely argument before the Australian Conciliation and Arbitration Commission. As the Government in the past has been willing to reveal economic scenarios which have suited its case at the time, will the Treasurer give an assurance that work done in the future by the Government to further update or vary the suppressed projections of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet will be made public and will be referred to EPAC despite the ACTU's standover tactics on the matter?

Mr KEATING —I do not know whether this is what one calls flogging a dead horse. The Deputy Leader of the Opposition does not seem to ever learn. The views which the ACTU expresses from time to time are its own views. The Government has made a lot of economic advice available to the public of Australia, something the Government of the former Treasurer never did. I refer to the publication for the first time early this year of the forward estimates, the publication of the econometric modelling of the economy under projections A, B and C and also the provision of information to EPAC. That information which has been provided to EPAC under projections A, B and C is the property of EPAC. Could we ever imagine the honourable member for Bennelong, as Treasurer, pumping an econometric model of the economy he had stewardship over? He would not have done so at any stage because we would have seen the disaster which was occurring. Rather than do that , we had the celebrated occasion in 1977 of the falsification of Treasury Statement No. 2 by the former Prime Minister and the situation in the 1982-83 Budget when the former Treasurer had a staff member go to the Department of the Treasury and scratch out paragraphs of Statement No. 2. I did not doctor Statement No. 2. In every respect this Government has come clean with the public in terms of economic information, and we will continue to do that in the future.