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Tuesday, 8 May 1973
Page: 1754

Mr CHIPP - My question, which I address to the Prime Minister, follows on 2 questions asked by my Leader of the Treasurer and the Minister for Immigration, both of whom read in this morning's Press statements on policy affecting their own portfolios by 2 other Ministers. I ask the Prime Minister: In view of the statements made yesterday by the Minister for Housing and the Minister for Urban and Regional Development, purporting to be Government policy but which apparently are not government policy, and which have not even been discussed between the Ministers involved, let alone the Cabinet, will the Prime Minister instruct all his Ministers not to make such statements before proper consideration by Cabinet so that industry will not be put and kept in utter confusion?

Mr WHITLAM - My colleagues were not enunciating policy. They were discussing matters of public interest with people particularly involved in those subjects of public interest. There will be no delay in announcing government policies and decisions. I apprehend that government decisions have never been announced so promptly and so publicly as by the present Australian Government. There has been no government decision or even debate on the matters which were raised in questions on those matters in isolation. The general question of building costs and the costs of land on which houses are being built has been the subject of frequent discussions. I have had quite a deal of correspondence with all the Premiers concerning the cost of land for building, which is the biggest and least controlled element in the cost of housing as a whole. My colleagues and I aim to encourage and participate in discussion on these matters. We have consistently taken the attitude that the Government does not necessarily know best. It is certainly not the only collection of people with worthwhile views to be considered in relation to these matters. Yesterday when my colleagues discussed these matters with master builders and other people they were seeking their views and, of course, giving theirs. It is from the interchange of views between governments and master builders that something will be done for electors and for the customers of the respective persons in discussion.

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