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Wednesday, 17 October 1973
Page: 2243

Mr MCMAHON (Lowe) - Mr Speaker, I wish to make a personal explanation.

Mr SPEAKER -Does the right honourable gentleman claim to have been misrepresented7

Mr McMAHON - Yes, I do. Today, in answer to a question, the Prime Minister (Mr Whitlam) said that he was following the line of his predecessor - that is myself - in agreeing to or supporting a prices and incomes referendum. I have never approved of a prices and incomes referendum. I clearly pointed out in the debate relating to the referendum on prices that I was implacably opposed to the granting of any such power to the Federal Government. That sets out my long term and present view. That view remains unchanged. I admit, Sir, that the Sydney Morning Herald' is a great national and metropolitan newspaper of record and is seldom wrong. What might have been referred to was the fact that some 18 months ago or more at least 6 or 7 papers were tabled in this House relating to prices and incomes policy which I had asked the Commonwealth Treasury to prepare as the basis upon which discussions would take place. Subsequently there was a summary of those papers in a speech that was delivered by the then Treasurer and present Leader of the Opposition (Mr Snedden). At that time I did admit that there might be some value in a temporary price and wage squeeze. Since then I have given ever so much more consideration to this problem, particularly against the background of the Organisation for Economic

Co-operation and Development Outlook No. 12, a paper by Dr Hans Arndt and some remarks by Professor Tobin of the United States of America. I am more than ever convinced that a prices and incomes power in the hands of a Labor government would be administered contrary to the best interests of the Australian people. I therefore remain implacably opposed to the 2 referendum proposals that have been put forward by the Commonwealth Government.

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