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Tuesday, 22 May 1973
Page: 2365

Mr CHIPP (HOTHAM, VICTORIA) - I ask the Prime Minister about a Caucus decision described by commentator Allan Barnes as 'one of the most significant taken since Labor came to office'. My question is in 2 parts. Firstly, has Caucus ruled that in future all Cabinet decisions relating to changes in bounties, subsidies and tariffs must be first approved by Caucus before announcement? Secondly, if so, how does the Prime Minister propose to prevent the inevitable speculation and possible chaos that could occur on stock exchanges if such proposals are leaked between the time of introduction to the Party room debate and the subsequent public announcement of the Caucus decision?

Mr WHITLAM (WERRIWA, NEW SOUTH WALES) (Prime Minister) - I do not have with me the standing orders of the Federal Parliamentary Labor Party but there is a provision to the effect that any decisions like this must be made if practicable. The honourable gentleman is probably referring to the practice whereby tariff proposals are brought in at 4 o'clock in the afternoon, that is, after the banks and stock exchanges have closed. That practice, of course, will be followed.

Mr Chipp - But will Caucus be informed?

Mr WHITLAM - No, of course not. The Caucus will not be informed of any of those matters which, by custom, are very properly announced in the House at 4 p.m.

Mr Chipp - What about any Caucus committees?

Mr WHITLAM - No Caucus committee either would be informed of them.

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