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Tuesday, 27 March 1973
Page: 762

Mr Garland asked the Treasurer, upon notice:

(1)   Did his statements in 1972 and 1973 express his attitude that inflation is to be combated but on the other hand disclose his unwillingness to attribute excessive wage rises as any cause of inflation; if so, what investigations has he carried out as Treasurer into the causes of inflation and the means by which it can be resisted.

(2)   What precise decision has he made to achieve a decrease in the rate of inflation.

(3)   What are the intentions of the Government in its application to inflation in Australia at present.

(4)   Does his examination indicate that adequate measures are at present being taken.

Mr Crean (MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA) (Treasurer) - The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1)   No. Of course wage rises which are really excessive add to inflationary pressures, just as excessive increases in profit margins add to such pressures.

(2)   The Government took over an economy in which cost inflationary influences were already entrenched. Decreasing the rate of inflation is not something which is achieved by one or two specific measures- it requires an appropriate mix of Government policies operating over an adequate period of time to obtain their effects. However, the revaluation of the Australian dollar last December was a specific measure having a directimpact in the right direction so far as prices are concerned. The more rapid growth in the economy in recent months will also help through the favourable effect on unit costs.

(3)   To reduce it.

(4)   The Government has done what is practicable tothis point of time. Prices justification machinery will be brought into being at the earliest practicable time.

Electoral Redistribution in Western Australia (Question No. 173)

Mr Garland asked the Minister for Services and Property, upon notice:

(1)   When will he appoint the three commissioners to present new electorate boundaries for the State of Western Australia.

(2)   Will he ensure that this is done without delay to prepare the way for a tenth seat in Western Australia.

(3)   Will he also ensure that in appointing the third person, which is at his discretion under the provisions of the Electoral Act, he will choose a senior Commonwealth public servant, as was formerly done, in order clearly to establish complete independence from political parties of all the commissioners.

(4)   During what month does he anticipate the proposed boundaries will be made public.

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

(1)   to (4) Consideration will be given to the composition of the Commission for Western Australia and to the appointment of Distribution Commissioners at an appropriate time.In the appointment of Distribution Commissioners full account will be taken of established precedents.Anannouncement will be made when relevant decisions have been taken.

Select Committee on Pharmaceutical Benefits: Cost (Question No. 199)

Mr Berinson asked the Prime Minister, upon notice:

What was the cost of conducting the House of Representatives Select Committee on Pharmaceutical Benefits and reporting the conclusions.

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

The Clerk of the House of Representatives has advised that expenses incurred by or on behalf of the Select Committee in its inquiry totalled $19,393. This sum does not include the cost of the transcript of evidence as that figure is not available from the Chief Parliamentary Reporter.

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