Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Full Day's HansardDownload Full Day's Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Thursday, 18 October 1973
Page: 2321

Mr McMAHON - My question is directed to the Treasurer and relates to the 2 basic assumptions on which, first of all, revaluations and, secondly, the Budget were based. The first one relates to revaluations and the view which members of the Government expressed that it would have a substantial impact on the price of imports into this country. I ask the honourable gentleman whether he has read the most recent monthly bulletin of the Reserve Bank, which indicated clearly that despite the immense suffering that has been caused to efficient Australian export industries the price index, as set out in the Reserve Bank bulletin, has fallen by no more than 5 points from 116 since 2 December? The second assumption relates to the Budget and particularly the actions taken by the Government to reduce tariffs by 25 per cent immediately before the Budget was introduced on the basis, according to the Minister for Overseas Trade, that we would have a pretty big increase in imports of the order of $ 1,200m, $400m worth being associated with the reduction in tariffs. Has the Treasurer seen the latest statistics-

Mr SPEAKER -Order! Will the right honourable gentleman ask his question?

Mr McMAHON - Yes, Sir. I am coming to the last part of it now, but it needed some explanation. Has he seen the statistics relating to the month of September, which indicate that imports have fallen, I believe, by about $10m to $41 lm, thus invalidating the very assumption on which the Budget was based - that is, an increase in imports?

Mr CREAN (MELBOURNE PORTS, VICTORIA) (Treasurer) - There have been a lot of complaints about long answers. I think equally there should be some complaint about long questions. I am quite prepared at another opportunity to examine the so-called facts that the right honourable gentleman has interpreted in his own way. I say briefly that the import price index has fallen. I say also that the time when revaluation took place was also a time of rising world prices.

Mr McMahon - They fell.

Mr CREAN - Fair enough. The circumstances would have been even worse had the revaluation not taken place. The other thing is that imports are increasing.

Mr McMahon - They fell in September.

Mr CREAN - The right honourable gentleman takes a month in isolation. I suggest that he take a quarter or 6 months. There is nothing worse than the selective use of statistics and politely multiplying them by 12 or 4 or 6 to get an annual figure. I regard that as an abuse of statistics. I will consider the question raised by the right honourable gentleman and give him a detailed answer.

Suggest corrections